Gregory M. Cahill, associate professor of biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston died Tuesday, December 23, 2008, at Bush Intercontinental Airport while waiting for a flight. He was 50. Greg is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Bjorlin of Prior Lake, Minn.; and four brothers, Paul Cahill of Janesville, Minn., Byron "Pat" Cahill of Kasson, Minn., Jared Cahill of Prior Lake and William Cahill of Eagan, Minn.
Greg was born July 17, 1958, in Mankato, Minn., the son of Paul Cahill and Cynthia Spangle Cahill. He grew up in Janesville, Minn., and graduated from Janesville High School in 1976. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1980. He earned his doctorate in biology and neuroscience at the University of Oregon working with Professor Michael Menaker, where he examined the pharmacology and physiology of synaptic input into the mammalian suprachiasmatic nucleus from the retinohypothalamic tract using an isolated slice preparation.
After earning his doctorate, Greg did postdoctoral work with Professor Joseph Besharse at Emory University, and later moved with Joe to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, where he became a Research Assistant Professor. During this time, Greg worked to establish many of the neurochemical features of melatonin secretion from the Xenopus laevis retina, especially its control by circadian oscillators and external neural modulators such as dopamine, and the effect of light on this system. A study of particular importance and ingenuity during this time appeared in Neuron in 1993, in which Greg and Joe established that the circadian oscillator controlling retinal melatonin secretion was located within the photoreceptor layer.
Werner Hoch, UH Assistant Professor of Biology &Biochemistry, passed away in Houston on July 9, 2005, surrounded by his family. Werner is survived by his parents, Kreszendia and Alois Hoch, and his brother Wolfgang Hoch, of Plochingen, Germany.
Born in Sindelfingen, Germany on July 19, 1959, Werner earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Tübingen in 1986 and completed a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Heidelberg in 1990, working with Heinrich Betz. Described by one German colleague as “a highly gifted researcher, with achievements characterized by novelty and quality—a hallmark of his work,” Werner was an expert in the field of molecular neurobiology.
In 1990, Werner joined Dr. Richard Scheller’s group at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Stanford University, analyzing the molecular basis of neuromuscular differentiation. His work resulted in several first-author papers that appeared in top scientific journals. He later returned to Germany, joining the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen in 1994, supported by a prestigious Helmholtz-fellowship award from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Werner spent six years at the Max-Planck-Institute, where he was immersed in a research environment focused on the developmental aspects of neurobiology, and where he developed a new interest in molecular neuropathology.
Gerard (Jerry) Wellington, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry, passed away on 11 March 2014 after 14 years with Alzheimer's. Jerry received his PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1981, and was on the faculty at the University of Houston for 24 years where he taught courses in Ecology, Marine Biology, and Invertebrate Zoology. He also served on the Editorial Board of the journal Coral Reefs, and was a trusted Advisor to the Charles Darwin Foundation for many years.
Jerry leaves behind a rich legacy in coral reef science. Over his career, he published numerous journal articles on various topics of coral reef ecology, paleoceanography, and fish ecology. He was at his most enthusiastic when on the reef SCUBA diving and exploring the natural world. He was a dedicated teacher, touched the lives of thousands of school children through his participation in the Jason Project, and was a free-spirited mentor to his graduate students. His numerous graduate students continue his legacy through their current research in marine science. Jerry was especially devoted to issues of marine conservation in the Galapagos Islands. One of his proudest achievements was his 1983 book on the "Corals and Coral Reefs of the Galapagos Islands" that he published in collaboration with his mentor and friend, Peter Glynn.