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In Memoriam: Meg Zupancic, PhD, Research Fellow at the Institute for Genome Sciences

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

 Meg Zupancic passed away due to complications following the birth of her second child.

Margaret (Meg) Zupancic, a research fellow at the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), passed away on October 7, 2010 at the age of 36. She is survived by her husband, Bill Vinje, and sons Maxwell Charles (Max), 2, and Tobias David (Toby), born October 6, as well as parents Madeline Marget & Ernie Zupancic and sister Nellie Zupancic Bresman.

“There are no words to describe our sadness at this turn of events,” said an IGS representative in an email to staff informing them of this loss. “The department joins her family, friends and colleagues at the University in mourning her loss and sends our condolences to her family.”

Meg, who earned her PhD in biochemistry from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2009, was participating in research into how the human microbiome interacts with the genetic bases of obesity. She and her colleagues analyzed the gut bacterial communities of lean and obese individuals in the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pa. For the benefit of such research, their population is relatively homogenous in regard to both genetics and lifestyle.

Initially, the researchers found no correlation between the composition of the gut bacteria and obesity, but when they factored in the genetic makeup of the participants, certain patterns began to emerge. In May, Meg generated a great deal of press coverage for the School of Medicine after presenting the group’s findings at the 110th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

An on-campus memorial service will be held on Monday November 1, 2010 at 3pm in Westminster Hall, 519 W. Fayette Street. All are invited to attend.

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