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Dr. Vernon Brightman, Infectious Diseases

Dr. Vernon J. F. Brightman, a professor of oral medicine in the forefront of research in infectious diseases, died on October 17 at the age of 66.

Dr. Brightman had begun his affiliation with Penn's School of Dental Medicine in 1960, often carrying up to half a dozen roles at once as he engaged in teaching, research, dental practice and administrative assignments at the Dental School, HUP and other local hospitals.

At the time of his death he was serving both as assistant dean for faculty development and as associate program director of the School's General Clinical Research Center-two posts he had held since the early 'nineties-as well as directing the Page Oral Medicine Diagnostic Lab and chairing the Infection Control Committee of the School. He has also held a secondary appointment as professor in PennMed's otorhinolaryngology department since 1973. A 1952 alumnus of the University of Queensland, at Brisbane, Vernon John Francis Brightman took his M.D.Sc. at Queensland in 1956 and came to the U.S. to study toward his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. On the award of that degree, in 1960, he came to Philadelphia as a postdoctoral fellow in the skin virus laboratory of Children's Hospital and a lecturer in microbiology at Penn Dental School. After a brief time away as Senior Lecturer in microbiology at Queensland, 1962-64, he returned to the University as assistant professor and rose to full professor by 1970, taking his D.M.D. from the School of Dental Medicine along the way, in 1968.

At various times in the 'seventies Dr. Brightman also assumed clinical posts at PGH, CHOP, and Presbyterian Hospitals, and in 1973-76 he was director of the Oral Medicine Unit at HUP. In 1978 he took a three-year stint as chair of oral medicine at Penn Dental, and the following year he became director of the Oral Medicine Diagnostic Clinic and Laboratory there. From 1982 to 1990 he also served as program director of the W.D. Miller General Clinical Research Center.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Oral Pathology and Diplomate of the American Academy of Oral Medicine, Dr. Brightman was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of Philadelphia's venerable College of Physicians.

In over 100 scientific papers, book chapters and abstracts, Dr. Brightman examined a wide spectrum of oral health problems. For example, as one of the editors of the well-known Burket's Oral Medicine (the ninth edition issued in 1994), he contributed chapters on red and white lesions; benign tumors including gingival enlargement; diseases of the tongue; chronic oral sensory disorders-pain and abnormalities of taste; oral symptoms without apparent physical abnormality; sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections; and rational procedures for diagnosis and medical risk assessment.

He also wrote on volunteerism and community programs as they relate to the dental curriculum, and the challenge of providing access to oral health care.

Dr. Brightman is survived by his wife, the former Signe Janssan; three sons, Thomas M., Julian E. and David F. Brightman; and a brother, Maxwell Esmonde Juel Brightman. A memorial service will be announced by the School. Meanwhile, the Vernon J. Brightman Memorial Fund for the Gateway Building is being established in his name to benefit the new Infectious Disease Center of the School, and the family ask donations to the Fund via the Oral Medicine Department at 4001 Spruce Street.


Dr. Samuel Gurin, Dean and Pioneer in Radioactive Tracers

Dr. Samuel Gurin, a distinguished biochemist who made history both in his research and as a basic scientist chosen to be a Dean of Medicine, died of congestive heart failure on October 22 at the age of 92.

Dr. Gurin received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Columbia University, and joined Penn in 1937 as an instructor of biochemistry, became professor of physiological chemistry in 1948 , and by 1955 he was the Benjamin Rush Professor of Biological Chemistry. He also chaired the Department of Biochemistry from 1955 to 1962, when he became Dean-the first non-M.D. to do so. After stepping down as dean in 1969, he went on to found the Marine Biochemical Research Laboratories at the University of Florida in 1970, which he directed until 1984. He became an emeritus professor in December 1976.

Dr. Gurin published over 100 scientific articles, and was especially noted for his research into the isolation of vitamin B, the biosynthesis of cholesterol, and his pioneering use of the radioactive C-14 in metabolic tracer studies.

His work with Dr. D. Wright Wilson, his predecessor as Rush Professor, is credited with the introduction of radioisotopes into medical science, and through such application of those new techniques he found (with R.O. Brady and others) that fatty acid synthesis did not occur without carbon dioxide and bicarbonate in the system, and that citrate stimulates fatty acid synthesis.

He was a member of the National Institute of Health Advisory Council on General Medicine, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society of Biological Chemists.

Alongside his career as a biochemist, Dr. Gurin was a serious musician who had studied at the Julliard School in New York. An accomplished pianist, he frequently presented concerts at his Maine home, and two of his orchestral compositions were performed by the orchestra at Conductor Pierre Monteux's music school in Hancock, Me.

Dr. Gurin is survived by his wife, Celia Zall Gurin; his sons, Robert and Richard; five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.


Bernice Adams, Dining

Bernice Adams of the Dining Services ("Bunny" to those who knew her ), died October 10 at the age of 73. She was a long-time employee of Dining Services who started at at Houston Hall Dining 40 years ago, and was a Unit Leader I at Hill House Dining by the time she left under disability in 1986. She also assisted in the establishment of Local 54 AFL-CIO/ASCME , the union with which Dining Services workers are affiliated at Penn.

Mrs. Adams was an alto in the St. Charles Choir for 45 years. She is survived by three sisters, Viola, Loretta and Arlene; two nieces, Leslie and Lory; two nephews, Evander and John, Jr; one brother-in-law, John; two great-nephews; two great-nieces, and cousins.

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, October 28, 1997, Volume 44, No. 10