Jerry Lingrel, Class of 1957

Posted Apr 01, 2022

Lingrel Jerry Obit Pic

Jerry Lingrel ‘57 died Feb. 22, 2020. He was born July 13, 1935. Jerry received his bachelor of science in chemistry from Otterbein where is was involved in the Pi Kappa Phi (Country Club) fraternity. While at Otterbein he met his wife Sara Wright Lingrel ’59.

Jerry served with distinction as a member of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine from 1962 to 2019, rising to become chair of the department of molecular genetics, biochemistry, and microbiology, serving in this position for over 30 years and, subsequently, as interim chair of the department of cancer and cell biology for three years.

Jerry was an associate editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry for 28 years; served on and chaired numerous study sections at the National Institutes of Health; chaired national and international scientific conferences; published groundbreaking work; and was an exemplary mentor to dozens of junior colleagues, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. All who knew him remember him fondly not only for his outstanding scientific contributions but also for his exceptional work ethic, humility, integrity and decency. With a career spanning 60 years, he was a pioneer in the invention and use of molecular biological techniques and recombinant DNA technology. Beginning in the mid-1960s, he and his trainees were among the first to identify and characterize mRNA. He identified hemoglobin mRNAs, demonstrated their translation into protein using a reticulocyte cell[1]free system and determined that hemoglobin mRNA had a poly-A sequence at its 3′ terminus. His work contributed to new ways of understanding RNA splicing and stabilization. He later demonstrated that hemoglobin genes occurred in clusters, and his contributions led to the hemoglobin genes becoming a paradigm for our understanding of gene duplication and evolution in mammals. To provide historical context, the use of recombinant DNA technology was viewed with considerable public suspicion in the 1970s, and Jerry, with characteristic integrity, was a pioneer in making sure that procedures, institutional review boards and safeguards were in place. In the 1980s, he and his collaborators were the first to demonstrate that a human gene (beta-globin) can function with correct developmental and tissue specificity in a transgenic mouse. This work established a foundation for the production of mouse models of human hereditary disorders and provided an experimental system in which the molecular mechanism of the switch from fetal to adult hemoglobin could be defined.

Along with his wife Sara, Jerry is survived by his son Douglas ’85, daughter Lynne, sister Rebecca Lingrel Corner ’67 & Douglas Corner ’69.

He was preceded in death by his aunt & uncle, Mary Nelson ’17 & Elmo Lingrel ’17; father-in -law Robert Wright ‘22; brother Larry Lingrel ’59 & Elizabeth Johnson Lingrel ’58.