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Disease Mechanisms Forum Honors Beloved Professor, Alumna

4/16/2021

Sr. Mary Edward Zipf Memorial Symposium Set for April 20

Mary Edward Zipf ’62, S.C., Professor Emerita of Biology, didn’t just cherish the Mount—she dedicated her life to it, sharing her love of science with every student, colleague, and community member she interacted with.

Sr Mary Edward Zipf

To honor her legacy, the Mount’s Division of Natural Sciences is proud to host the Sr. Mary Edward Zipf Memorial Symposium on Disease Mechanisms. The virtual conference, which is set for April 20 from 4 to 6:15 p.m., seeks to highlight a few of the many lives Sr. Mary Edward touched, and their significant contributions to the world of science.

Watch the Symposium | April 20 | 4 p.m.

The program welcomes introductions by Associate Professor of Biology Ana Ribeiro, Ph.D. and Director for the Division of Natural Sciences and Associate Professor of Chemistry Pamela Kerrigan, Ph.D.

Matthew J. Arduino ’79, M.S., Dr.P.H., who serves as Chief of the Clinical and Environmental Microbiology Branch of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will kick off the series of presentations with his talk, “Reducing the Risk of Infection by Understanding Pathogen Dynamics,” at 4:05 p.m.

ParaMount Perspectives speaker Matthew J. Arduino ’79 with Sr. Mary Edward Zipf

Mount alumnus Dr. Arduino reconnected with Sr. Mary Edward in 2014 as he discussed microbiological sciences and infection prevention as part of the ParaMount Perspectives Speaker Series.

Owen A. O’Connor, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at TG Therapeutics and Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at The University of Virginia, will discuss the “Origins of Chemotherapy and Evolution into New Precision-Targeted Therapy” starting at 4:30 p.m.

Mark J. Soloski, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Pathology, Molecular Biology and Genetics and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will present on “Human Lyme Disease” beginning at 4:55 p.m.

Robert Suriano, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Microbiology in the Mount’s Division of Natural Sciences, will continue the symposium with a talk on the “Identification of Synthetic Toll Like Receptor-4 (TLR-4) Agonist Peptides as a Potential Novel Class of Adjuvants” starting at 5:20 p.m.

Sr. Mary Edward Zipf with Robert Suriano

Sr. Mary Edward not only taught Dr. Suriano during his time as an undergraduate student at Manhattan College, but they worked together in the Division of Natural Sciences at the Mount—where she was always there to support his work, research, and presentations.

Virginia A. Livolsi, M.D. ’65, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Professor of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, and Principal Investigator Eastern Division CHTN at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine will give the final presentation on “Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma: The Story of a Cancer from Identification through Definition, Genetics and Therapy” at 5:45 p.m., followed by closing remarks by Dr. Ribeiro and Dr. Kerrigan at 6 p.m.

A dedicated educator, Sr. Mary Edward taught for more than 60 years—46 of which she spent enriching the lives of students at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.

Sr. Mary Edward Zipf in the laboratory

Throughout her years on campus, Sr. Mary Edward worked in various labs in the Science Hall. In 2016, specialized funding supported the complete renovation of the microbiology laboratory—the first since 1953—dedicated in her honor.

Sr. Mary Edward entered the Sisters of Charity in 1953. She graduated from the College in 1962 with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. She went on to receive a master’s degree in biological sciences from Fordham University and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Maryland. Her research interests included microbiology/parasitology, immunology/virology, organometal toxicant groupings/fungicidal properties, and bacterial motility. And her research on mildew and molding even enhanced the quality and safety of paints.

Sr. Mary Edward Zipf, Charles L. Flynn, Jr., Sr. Kathleen Tracey

Professor Emerita of Biology Sr. Kathleen Tracey ’48, Professor Emerita of Biology Sr. Mary Edward Zipf ’62, and President Emeritus Charles L. Flynn, Jr. gather together for the rededication of the Science Hall in 2013.

SMEZ—as she was affectionately referred to—was above all a teacher. She loved her students and was a mentor and role model to countless young scientists. She created an “army” of microbiologists who became infected by her contagious enthusiasm and love of microbes, and eventually became illustrious scientists themselves. Her educational outreach efforts were not limited to Mount students—although that would have been impressive enough. She was dedicated to fostering interest in science in students from elementary to high school, and was pivotal to the Mount’s participation in hosting the AAUW conference “Explore your Opportunities” for girls in STEM.

Her students continue to be abidingly devoted to her. We’re proud to welcome just a few of them back for the Sr. Mary Edward Zipf Memorial Symposium on Disease Mechanisms to honor the teacher who taught them so much, made them work so hard, and loved them smartly.

SMEZ touched innumerable lives with her generous spirit and expansive love of life. Join us on April 20 to continue the celebration of her love of science.

Sr. Mary Edward Zipf at Reunion.

Sr. Mary Edward celebrates Mount faculty honored with endowed professorships—including Ioanna Visviki, Ad Lux Professor of Biology—during the 2017 Reunion and Homecoming Weekend.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.