The world of endocrine-disrupting chemical research recently lost a giant in the field with the passing of Louis J. “Lou” Guillette, 60.
Director of the Marine Biomedicine & Environmental Sciences Center and Professor of Ob/Gyn at the Medical University of South Carolina, Lou was a HHMI professor, Heinz Award Winner, and former “Professor of the Year” at the University of Florida. He had a profound influence on the field of endocrine disruption research, and on all those who knew him, not only because of his knowledge of vertebrate reproductive biology and comparative endocrinology, but also because of his ability to communicate to broad audiences.
Lou’s doctoral work was on the evolution of viviparity in a Sceloporus lizard, and this led to the initiation of a work program on the reproductive biology of alligators when he took a position in the Zoology Department at the University of Florida. His discoveries revealing the effects of chemical pollution on male reproductive biology of alligators in Lake Apopka were landmark and led to a prolific career that later expanded to embrace the study and public communication of the connections between wildlife health and human health, and the use of wildlife as human environmental health sentinels.
An index of the breadth of Lou’s work was the diversity of funding agencies from which he attracted support, including NIH, NSF, EPA, DOE, NASA, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and many state and private foundations. Who else but Lou could hold a chair in marine genomics as well as in obstetrics and gynecology all at the same time? Lou’s greatest commitment was to his students and their development; he mentored dozens of students and postdocs and succeeded in developing one–to–one relationships with all his students that have lasted far beyond the students’ tenure.
He was warm and outgoing and has shaped the thinking and careers of a great number of scientists around the world.
— R. Thomas Zoeller, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass., and Susan Jobling, Brunel University, London, UK