February 16, 2023
It is with very heavy hearts that we share the passing of our beloved SRI President, Carole Mendelson. Carole lost a courageous battle with cancer on February 12.
Carole received a B.S. in Biology from the City College of New York and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Rutgers University, N.J. She was a post doc and staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health, and joined the faculty of UT Southwestern in 1978. She served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH, chaired the Reproductive Scientist Development Program Selection Committee and was a member of the Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award Advisory Committee. In addition to SRI, she was active in the Endocrine Society and within UT Southwestern, she co-chaired the Women in Science and Medicine Advisory Committee. Carole’s research was focused on reproductive and perinatal biology, including mechanisms in the initiation of parturition, molecular mechanisms in placental development and in the developmental, hormonal and tissue-specific regulation of surfactant protein gene expression in fetal lung tissue. She has published 240 papers which have more than 15,000 citations, throughout her research career, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and The Burroughs Wellcome Foundation.
Carole received no shortage of awards, including the Sydney H. Ingbar Distinguished Service Award (The Endocrine Society, 2019), Frederick Naftolin Award for Mentorship (Society for Reproductive Investigation, 2017), SGI-Pardi President's Distinguished Scientist Award (Society for Reproductive Investigation, 2014), Mentor Award (Women in Endocrinology, 2010), Vice-President for Basic Science (The Endocrine Society, 2008-2011), Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society (2002), Roy O. Greep Award (The Endocrine Society, 2001), and an NIH MERIT Award for Regulation of SP-A Expression in Fetal Lung (1998-2008).
Carole started her journey with the SRI in 1982. Since then, she has served in many capacities, including presenting countless talks and posters at the Annual Meeting, reviewing hundreds of abstracts, and serving as a Councilor from 2006-2009. She began her path to the SRI Presidency in 2019. During the past 11 months, as she accomplished the work she had envisioned as her Presidential agenda, Carole started an enduring initiative, the creation of the Sponsorship of Awards and Recognition Committee (SoAR). She also very successfully led our first in-person Interim Council Meeting since 2019, which allowed the Council to have a robust strategic planning session. As many of her colleagues and close friends have said these past days, she was an icon in the field, personified scientific endeavor, integrity, perseverance and commitment to the field, and was an outstanding friend and a true leader.
To honor her memory and show support to Carole’s family, staff will be compiling brief notes and memories about Carole to send to the family in a way to be determined.
SRI aims to honor Carole’s legacy on a long-term basis, and as we have more details we will inform the membership. In the meantime, donations to March of Dimes or UTSW Women in Science Organization are suggested by the family.
Her leadership, smile, and positivity are already sorely missed.
Nanette Santoro, SRI Past President, and Stephen Matthews, SRI President Elect
On Behalf of the SRI Council