Mary J. Mycek ’48

Mary J. Mycek ’48, of Shelton, Conn.; June 2. She received a PhD in 1955 in biochemistry from Yale. After spending two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University in New York City, she took a position at the New York State Psychiatric Institute of Columbia University. It was there that she was instrumental in identifying the enzyme transglutaminase and characterized the reaction it catalyzed. In 1961, she accepted a position in the department of pharmacology at what was then Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry and later became the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She rose to the rank of professor and, after retiring in 1991, continued in an adjunct capacity for 13 years. Her research centered on the mechanism of tolerance to barbiturates in the brain. She authored many publications, among them three editions of Lippincott’s review text, Pharmacology. She served on several study sections at the National Institutes of Health and chaired the Committee on Pharmacological Sciences in 1980-82. In addition, she was the secretary of the Biochemical Pharmacology Discussion Group at the New York Academy of Sciences from 1961-71. She was an emeritus member of Sigma Xi, the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, where she chaired its subcommittee on women in pharmacology. In 1994, she was presented with the Outstanding Woman in Science Award from the Metropolitan Chapter of the American Women in Science in New York City. She enjoyed her association with the Derby Historical Society, where she was a life member, serving on its board of directors and editing its newsletter for 10 years. The Society honored her with its Dorothy Larson Award in 2004. Her interests in history led to a collaboration in writing a booklet about Ebenezer Bassett, a Derby man who was the first Black man to serve as a United States ambassador. In 2010, the Ebenezer Bassett booklet received the Award of Merit from the Connecticut League of History Organizations. She volunteered in the cardiac rehabilitation unit at Griffin Hospital, in the vertebrate paleontology section of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale, and with Recording for the Blind in New Haven. She is survived by many cousins.

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Class of 1948

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