Dr Gerald B. Price (Jerry, as he is known to most of us), Professor, at the McGill Cancer Centre in the Faculty of Medicine, passed away suddenly on June 21, 2003. He is survived by his parents, brothers and sister, all living in the United States.
Jerry was born in Kansas, on March 8, 1945, the oldest of the four children. He did his undergraduate studies at the Kansas State Teacher’s College, where he received a B.A. degree in 1967, with a Major in Chemistry and a Minor in Mathematics. He then went to Oak Ridge Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, at the University of Tennessee, where, in 1971, he received his Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences, specializing in Immunology and Biochemistry. From there, Jerry moved to the Ontario Cancer Institute, in Toronto, Ontario, where he received his postdoctoral training in blood stem cell biology and immunology, under the supervision of Drs. Till and McCulloch. In 1973, he became Research Associate there, and in 1975 he joined the Faculty, becoming first an Assistant and then an Associate Professor. He came to McGill, at the Cancer Centre, in the summer of 1982 and was appointed at the same time Medical Scientist in the Hematology Division at the Royal Victoria Hospital. In 1989, he was promoted to the rank of Full Professor.
Jerry was an active member of the McGill community, received many distinctions and served on numerous committees. He loved this University and served it faithfully for over 21 years. He was actively involved in various aspects of University life. From 1988-1994, he was a member of Senate and from 1992-1997 a member of MAUT Council, and served on numerous of their respective committees at various levels. He was extremely honest, very judicious and just, and had very high personal integrity and ethic. He took everything seriously, was very involved with everything he did and did it extremely well. Whenever there was a difficult case, Jerry was called upon to help deal with it and he invariably helped find a satisfactory solution.
In 1995 he became Director of the Division of Experimental Medicine, in the Department of Medicine, and worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the Division, which currently has over 200 graduate students. He was a great advocate of graduate students in the program and constantly tried to find ways to enhance their training. He was personally involved in the organization of several courses. One of Jerry’s greatest strengths was that of mentor for students in general.
Scientifically, Jerry will be remembered for his numerous and diverse research contributions. First, as a young graduate student trainee he participated in groundbreaking research in the field of DNA repair. Later, at the OCI, he received training in blood stem cell biology and immunology and made numerous contributions in the field over the years. Then, shortly after he joined the McGill Cancer Centre staff, he switched to the field of mammalian DNA replication, participating in highly original research, regarding the regulation of initiation of DNA replication and the molecular biology of mammalian replication origins. He made numerous original contributions to that field.
In 1999, he co-founded Replicor, Inc., a spin-off Biotechnology company. Externally, in 1992, Jerry became President and Member of the Medical Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of the Cancer Research Society, Inc., and in 2000 he became Chairman of its Board of Directors. In 1999-2001 he was Chair of the MRC/PMAC, CIHR/R&D University Industry Committee, which he co-chaired from 1995-1999. The list goes on and on.
Jerry was a very intense person, both privately and publicly. Science was ranking foremost in his life, but he also unselfishly and generously gave a lot of his time and support, whenever somebody had a private problem. He always managed to be in control of a difficult situation and deal with it in an effective manner.
In conclusion, Dr Price was a great student advocate and was always fair in his assessment of them. He was also an invaluable colleague and great advocate of the Cancer Centre. He will always be sorely missed by all, his students and colleagues.
Written by Maria Hadjopoulos, edited by M. Tremblay