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In Memoriam: Carole Mendelson, Ph.D., a leader in endocrinology and advocate for advancement of women in science

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Carole Mendelson, Ph.D., a national leader in the field of endocrinology and a passionate advocate for the advancement of women in science, died in February. The UT Southwestern Professor of Biochemistry and Obstetrics and Gynecology was 78.

For more than three decades, Dr. Mendelson championed the promotion of women in science as an active member of the Endocrine Society. At UTSW, she was an inaugural member of the Women in Science and Medicine Advisory Committee from its inception in 1994 and co-chaired the committee for the past 12 years. She served as President of the UT Southwestern Faculty Senate from 1992-1993, and as President of the Society for Reproductive Investigation from 2022-2023.

Her contributions to the field were recognized with multiple honors that included the Roy O. Greep Award for Outstanding Research and the Sidney H. Ingbar Distinguished Service Award from The Endocrine Society, the Mentoring Award from Women in Endocrinology, and both the President’s Distinguished Scientist Award and an Award for Mentorship from the Society for Reproductive Investigation.

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Carole Mendelson, Ph.D.

“Her death represents a great loss for the entire UT Southwestern community,” said W. P. Andrew Lee, M.D., Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Dean of UT Southwestern Medical School. “Dr. Mendelson’s scientific acumen and her pioneering efforts for women’s advancement in science have left an enduring imprint at the University.”

After receiving a Bachelor of Science in biology from the City College of New York and a Ph.D. in zoology from Rutgers University, Dr. Mendelson completed postdoctoral research in reproduction and pursued an endocrinology postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.

In 1978, she joined the UT Southwestern faculty. Her research into molecular mechanisms in developmental and hormonal regulation of key genes in perinatal biology and female reproduction won her national recognition. Her research focused on three key areas: transcriptional regulation of fetal lung development, placental development, and the function and molecular mechanisms regulating uterine function in pregnancy and parturition. At the time of her death, she had an active National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant and a Burroughs Wellcome Fund grant supporting her lab to study the impact of transcriptional regulation on fetal development.

“Carole was strongly committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists and was dedicated to fostering the careers of students and postdocs in her lab and in the department. She was a highly valued colleague and will be greatly missed,” said Margaret Phillips, Ph.D., Chair of Biochemistry and Professor of Pharmacology.

The Mendelson lab, part of UT Southwestern’s Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, was funded by the NIH, the March of Dimes Foundation, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. She held an NIH MERIT Award from 1998 to 2008.

For 18 years, Dr. Mendelson led the North Texas March of Dimes Birth Defects Center, which was established jointly in 2003 by the March of Dimes and UT Southwestern with support from more than 200 benefactors.

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