In Memoriam: Jo Rae Wright (1955-2012)

Jo Rae Wright, a professor of cell biology, medicine, and pediatrics at Duke University, died earlier this month after a long battle with breast cancer.  Professor Wright had stepped down as dean of the university’s graduate school in October because of her health. She had been dean since 2006.

A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, Dr. Wright held a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in physiology from West Virginia University. She joined the Duke faculty in 1993 after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Francisco.

Peter Lange, provost at Duke University, stated, “Jo Rae’s death is tragic; she will be missed by so many and in so many ways. She was an outstanding researcher, an excellent teacher and mentor, a wise, patient, determined and resourceful leader. But above all, she was a wonderful person who brought light into the days of all those whom she met, whether through work or socially. She was my colleague and my friend and I will miss her deeply, as will so many others in our community.”

Duke University has announced that the Jo Rae Wright Fellowship for Outstanding Women in Science will be awarded to two women each year. One will be for a Ph.D. student in the biomedical sciences and one will be earmarked for a Ph.D. student in the natural sciences.

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