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The Catalyst

Researcher, mentor will be fondly remembered

By Mikie Hayes
Public Relations

MUSC has lost one of its own.

Scott Argraves, Ph.D., passed away on May 11 after a valiant battle with cancer. The devoted family man, generous friend and beloved colleague has left a void in the lives of many that will be impossible to fill.

Argraves’s numerous contributions to science are well known in the field of regenerative medicine and cell biology and a source of great pride at MUSC, especially his work in extracellular matrix biology, where he is considered a pioneer.

In 1995, Roger Markwald, Ph.D., chairman of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology recruited both Argraves and his wife, Kelley Argraves, to his department and considers it one of his best decisions.

Argraves enjoyed an illustrious career at MUSC and in 2009, was named the associate chair for research. Recently, he provided leadership for two major statewide research efforts: The first in proteogenomics and another in tissue biofabrication. He helped create the Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Center which houses the “Palmetto Printer,” a 3D bioprinter designed to print vessels for use in blood vessel replacement therapy.  According to Markwald, he brought great recognition to the state of South Carolina for these and many efforts.

“Scott was a pillar in this department. He had an outstanding scientific mind and was always brimming with new ideas. He was a powerhouse and the most gifted scientist I’ve ever met. He was a pioneer in technologies that have become the most widely used in the world of genomics.”

In the early 90s, Argraves conducted groundbreaking research at the American Red Cross on a protein he identified and named fibulin. He continued that important work at MUSC and became widely recognized as the “father” of this field.

Associates described Argraves as a very special person who cared deeply for colleagues, students and those he mentored. He was a constant source of encouragement to all and worked to bring out the very best in people as he could always see their potential, even when they didn’t see it themselves. He is said to have enriched the lives of countless young scientists, friends, co-workers, and family members.

Markwald described one of Argraves’ most admirable qualities as his love of promoting careers in science and his devotion to bringing young scientists along. “He was passionate about mentoring and developing new scientists and promoting diversity, particularly for the careers of women in science.”

Those who speak of Argraves never fail to mention that while he loved his work, his wife and daughters, Jenna Margaret and Livia Shae, were truly the very heart of his life. Although it appeared he worked 24 hours a day, in reality, he was integrally involved in their interests and pursuits.

Etta D. Pisano, M.D., vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, said, “Scott meant a great deal to many of us personally through his roles as teacher, friend, and mentor. He was passionate about his work, but his devotion to MUSC paled in comparison to the love he had for his wife, Kelley, who is also on our faculty, and their two daughters. He has left behind an incredible legacy, and will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched.”

Bryan Toole, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology, agrees.

“Scott was a truly remarkable guy. He was a close friend and colleague who was always ready to chat, explain, argue, illuminate, hypothesize, enthuse about any aspect of life that mattered to either of us or our families and friends. If I had a new idea, a puzzling conundrum or just felt restless, I would wander around to Scott’s office and he was always ready to talk about it in a way that made you feel your stuff was important to him. And likely as not, others would wander in, join in, and soon a full–scale, usually loud discussion would ensue. Sometimes things got solved, other times more challenging or confusing. I will miss him very, very much,” Toole said.

Christi Kern, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology,  said, “Scott had a contagious enthusiasm for science. The fact that he would drop everything to engage in a lively scientific discussion was encouraging and also acknowledged the hard work that went into your latest discovery. Scott’s tenacious determination has motivated me to keep doing my scientific best because, as he often said, ‘you can’t hit a home run, if you’re not willing to step up to the plate.’”

 

May 27, 2014

 

 
 
 

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