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In Memoriam

Dr. Stephen Paul Ford, 69, of Laramie, WY died peacefully at home on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. He was born on October 11, 1948 in Palo Alto, California to Frank and Rosemary (Bonnot) Ford and grew up on a sheep and cattle ranch in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Steve married Marsha Ann Pohl on September 12, 1970 in Salem, Oregon. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, three children and 8 grandchildren. 

Steve Ford was a man of many scientific achievements, he loved the art of research and was a master at teaching. His career in animal sciences and reproductive physiology/biology began as an undergraduate research assistant at Oregon State University in the lab of Dr. Fred Stormshak. Steve went on to receive his graduate degrees from West Virginia University (M.S. in 1973) and Oregon State University (Ph.D. in 1977) under the guidance of Drs. Keith Inskeep and Fred Stormshak, respectively. Steve then accepted a position as a Reproductive Research/Physiologist at the U.S.D.A. Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), Clay Center, NE from 1973-1979. Desiring to teach led Steve to move to the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University where he moved up through the ranks to full professor (1977-2001). In 2001, Steve moved to the University of Wyoming as the Professor of Animal Science, held the Rochelle Endowed Chair and was the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Fetal Programming there until his death.

Steve’s research and teaching programs at MARC and Iowa State focused on conceptus:uterine interactions throughout gestation in the cow, ewe and sow, with emphasis on factors controlling uterine and placental blood vessel development, function and blood flow. In his embryo transfer studies between Yorkshire and Meshian pigs, he was the first to show conclusively that intrauterine conditions in the mother control the rate of growth of her baby just as much, if not more so, than parental genes. He also conducted pioneering studies on the physiologic and genetic controls of litter size in the pig. His more recent work in conjunction with members of the Center for Study of Fetal Programming have focused on the impact of altered maternal nutrition on fetal growth and organ development as well as postnatal health, growth efficiency, reproduction and carcass quality of the offspring using sheep, cows as well as non-human primate models. His research has greatly impacted the way we view reproductive efficiency, and growth in numerous species, but also the birth of normal healthy human babies.  His research program was internationally recognized as evidenced by many publications and awards. An abbreviated list of Steve’s awards include:  the American Society of Animal Science Animal Physiology and Endocrinology Award (2000), Gamma Sigma Delta Research Merit Award, Iowa State University (2001), Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences Legacy Award (2007), Donald H. Barron Award for Outstanding Research and Scholarly Activities in the Field of Reproductive Biology from the University of Florida (2007), Sydney A. Asdell Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Reproductive Biology from Cornell University (2010), University of Wyoming Faculty Senate Speaker Award (2012), Abraham Lincoln Honor Award from the USDA (2016), and Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station Outstanding Research Award (2017).

In spite of Steve’s major research accomplishments, his favorite part of science was the training of graduate students and post-docs and this may be his most significant legacy. He imparted novel scientific perspectives to his students as well as his passion for scientific research. The best evidence for Steve’s outstanding mentorship, however, is that many of his previous mentees now lead well recognized research programs in academia and have assumed leadership roles at various universities or in private industry. Steve was an outstanding mentor and teacher as he always tried new approaches to topics thereby opening up numerous avenues for the scientific community overall. He enjoyed nothing more than sitting down with his own or other students at home or at scientific meetings to constructively review the strengths and weaknesses of their research projects. Steve also taught for his entire academic career and developed well rounded courses that reflected the students’ need to understand not only the whole animal, but also biochemical and molecular processes to enable them to understand and solve complex biological problems. Throughout his career he emphasized to his students the enrichment one gets from species comparisons. One prominent researcher stated, “… there are a tribe of Ford-educated scientists out there and you can see his strong influence on how they think about science and work at it.” 

Steve has been a member of Society for the Reproductive Investigation (SRI/SGI) for 33 years. Therefore, many of Steve’s trainees and their scientific formative years were shaped by and interwoven with SRI/SGI elites. In addition to SRI/SGI, Steve also contributed strongly to the American Society of Animal Science, Society for the Study of Reproductive and Perinatal Research Society.  He served as a grant reviewer for NIH, USDA, and numerous other US and international granting agencies. He most recently was PI of a Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit NIH/USDA grant using the ovine model to study the effects of maternal obesity on developmental origins of metabolic and cardiovascular non-communicable diseases.  

A celebration of Steve’s life is to be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24, 2018 at Montgomery-Stryker Funeral Home in Laramie, WY. In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial contributions be made to Hospice of Laramie and/or to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Go to www.montgomerystryker.com to send condolences or to sign the online guestbook. 


Daniel R. Mishell Jr., MD: With heavy hearts we report that SRI Member and Past President, Daniel R. Mishell Jr., MD, a longtime professor and former chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, died on May 4th, 2016. He was 84.

Dr. Mishell dedicated himself to research in the fields of contraception, infertility, and reproductive endocrinology. He assisted in the development of the copper IUD, and conducted many studies about contraceptive rings, low-dose birth control pills, and injectable and implantable contraceptives. Mishell also helped revolutionize pregnancy testing and his research and clinical investigations helped women increase their chances of conception as well as induce ovulation in those women who are infertile. He was also known for helping women who are medically underserved and recruiting women into his field. Dr. Mishell shared his knowledge through his role of the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Contraception for over 40 years, as well as an editor of every major journal in the field. He has published over 350 articles and chapters, and we were honored to have him as an SGI president in 1988.

Dr. Mishell received numerous honors and awards including becoming an honorary member of the Sociedad Mexicana de Nutricion y Endocrinologia, A.C., his election as Fellow ad eundem of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and receipt of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Family Planning. Mishell was elected president of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1986 to 1990, as well as chairman from 1990 to 1994. He also served as president for the Pacific Coast Fertility Society and the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, and served as advisor, board and council member for numerous national and international committees, task forces, and councils.

Information for this article was taken from http://keck.usc.edu/in-memoriam-daniel-mishell-jr-84/


William N. Spellacy, MD: We are sad to report SRI Member and Past President, William N. Spellacy, MD, died October 8th, 2015.  He was 81. Dr. Spellacy was a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and joined the University of South Florida College of Medicine in 1988 to become chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Among a career of dedicating himself to ensure women gained access to the best medical care possible, Dr. Spellacy also spent his career as a leader in the field of women’s health and research. Spellacy built a competitive residency program at USF, and it was often regarded as one of the best OB programs in the country by doctors throughout the nation. He used his influence and expertise to create not only the Genesis clinic, which provides comprehensive healthcare to medically underserved patients, but a program to give comprehensive care to incarcerated pregnant women in Hillsborough County, Florida, one he participated in for over two decades. Dr. Spellacy was a dedicated researcher and shared his knowledge through over 500 articles, 80 book chapters, and 10 books. We were honored to have him as an SGI president in 1985.

Additionally, Dr. Spellacy received numerous honors and awards including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s Perdue-Frederick Research Award, the APGO Excellence in Teaching Award (twice), the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology National Faculty Award for Excellence in Residency Education, USF Outstanding Resident Teaching Award, and USF Distinguished Research Professor.  He was named several times to the Good Housekeeping “Best Doctors for Women” list and the “Best Doctors in America” list.

Information for this article was taken from https://hscweb3.hsc.usf.edu/blog/2015/10/12/in-memoriam-dr-william-n-spellacy/


Julian T. (Bill) Parer, MD, PhD: It is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of Julian T (Bill) Parer, MD, PhD, a leading academic in the field of perinatal biology and medicine and a member of the SRI for the past 40 years. Bill died while hiking on Mt. Tamalpais on August 3, 2016.

A native of Australia, Bill moved to the United States, where he received his PhD from Oregon State University in 1965 and an MD from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1971. After completing his OBGYN residency at the University of Southern California, Bill joined the faculty of the Department of OBGYN and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco in 1974 as a perinatologist and a researcher, reaching the rank of Professor in 1982. He also served as Director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at UCSF, and for 33 years directed the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship at UCSF.

Bill’s research centered on fetal physiology, with a focus on fetal responses to asphyxia, oxygen transport in pregnancy, fetal heart rate monitoring, and diverse clinical topics related to high-risk pregnancies. His pursuits resulted in more than 230 manuscripts and book chapters. He also cared for thousands of high-risk pregnant women in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, providing perinatal care and unique services such as intrauterine fetal transfusion and abdominal cerclage. Bill created and directed a continuing medical education course for 40 years on antepartum and intrapartum management, which attracted attendees from around the country. Bill was truly passionate about his clinical and scientific work, and served as a role model to many of us in the field and in our society who were fortunate to work with him or to be trained by him.


Lawrence D. Longo, MD: With deep sadness we share with you that Lawrence D. Longo, MD, passed away 5 January 2016.

Dr. Longo, a distinguished Professor of Physiology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Loma Linda University, was internationally recognized in the field of fetal and neonatal physiology as a pioneer investigator, mentor, teacher, missionary, innovator, medical historian, and ambassador of academic scholarship. Among his many significant accomplishments he authored more than 350 scientific papers, and edited or authored 20 books.

Graduating from Pacific Union College, and then the College of Medical Evangelists (now Loma Linda University School of Medicine) in 1954, Dr. Longo had an illustrious career. Over the past five decades he compiled an impressive record in research and academic leadership. He established the Center for Perinatal Biology at Loma Linda University into one of the world’s leading research groups in the field of developmental physiology, and served as its founding Director from 1973 to 2012. His research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies since 1964.

Dr. Longo was President of both the Society for Gynecologic Investigation (1982-1983) and the American Osler Society (2002-2003). In 1987, Dr. Longo prepared the original grant application for the Reproductive Scientist Development Program, which was first funded in 1988 by the National Institutes of Health. He served as Director and Co-Director until 2013.

His life was an extraordinary example of dedication and perseverance.