NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scripps Research Institute Founder and noted immunologist Frank J. Dixon died Friday. He was 87 years old.
Born in St. Paul, Minn. in 1920, Dixon completed his BS, BM, and MD degrees at the University of Minnesota in 1943 before serving three years in the US Navy. He subsequently worked as a research assistant in the department of pathology at Harvard Medical School, and then taught at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis.
At just 30 years old, Dixon became the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology chair, where he remained for ten years. Dixon and four other scientists moved to La Jolla, Calif., in 1961, spearheading an experimental pathology department at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, which eventually became the Scripps Research Institute.
Over the course of his research career, Dixon’s immunologic research addressed numerous human disorders, including tumors of the testes, kidney disease, serum sickness, and systemic lupus-like disease. He also pioneered protein iodination work that aided the development of isotope tracer technology used in studying immunological proteins and made head roads in identifying and tracking immune system complexes.
Throughout his career, Dixon received several national and international research awards — including the Lasker Award in 1975 for his work on the immunological causes of kidney diseases. He was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences and served as president of both the American Association of Immunologists and the American Association of Pathologists.
Dixon is survived by his wife Marion, three children — Janet, Frank Jr., and Michael — and four grandchildren.
“We were deeply shocked and saddened to learn of Frank’s death, and the sad occasion served to remind us of how much Frank has contributed through the years to Scripps Research and to basic biomedical science in general,” Richard Lerner, Scripps Research president, said in a statement.