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In Memoriam: C. David Stout (1947 – 2016)



In Memoriam:
C. David Stout (1947 – 2016)

C. David Stout, an associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), passed away at his home on April 30 from brain cancer. He was 68.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to Dave's family and friends,” said TSRI’s President Steve Kay. “His many contributions to TSRI and to science will not be forgotten.”

“Dave was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme three years ago and was an inspiration to us all in the way he coped with the severe downturn in his health in pursuing his research and support of his lab with the same passion, intensity and enthusiasm,” said Ian Wilson, chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology and Hansen Professor of Structural Biology. “We will always remember Dave for his upbeat and positive attitude, his dedication to research, and his care and compassion for others. We will miss him tremendously.”

Born in Syracuse, New York, in 1947, Stout grew up in Southern California and was an avid lover of nature, especially the Sierras, where he hiked almost every summer.

He received a B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from University of California, Riverside, in 1969 and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Crystallography from University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1976. He then joined the Department of Crystallography at University of Pittsburgh. In 1985, joined TSRI (then the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation) as a faculty member and was awarded tenure in 1998.

At TSRI, Stout’s laboratory employed X-ray crystallography to study metalloproteins. For the past several years, the focus of his lab was on the structure and mechanism of the membrane-bound respiratory enzyme cytochrome ba3 oxidase, the mitochondrial enzymes transhydrogenase (TH) and cytochrome P450 CYP24A1, and the process of HIV Gag and viral protease (PR) assembly.

TSRI Professor Arthur Olson said, “Dave has been a stalwart faculty member who has helped forge a number of significant Scripps collaborations and facility-sharing partnerships that have had great impact on the institute and the science it does. He was an unabashed optimist who was not afraid to try new things. His collaborations ranged from quantum chemistry to virus evolution. As a dear collaborator in our HIV Interaction and Viral Evolution (HIVE) Center, he pioneered the use of fragment-based crystallography to find new binding sites on HIV targets in the search for new drugs... He will be sorely missed.”

“Dave was a consummate crystallographer,” added Jamie Williamson, TSRI’s vice president of academic affairs and dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies. “The transhydrogenase structure that his lab published last year in Science was a real tour de force in membrane protein structure determination, and it was the capstone of his career. Dave’s eyes would light up whenever he was talking about crystals, and he was one of the nicest human beings you will ever meet.”

Along with his love of science, Stout was a dedicated mentor. In addition to lecturing in TSRI’s Graduate Program for many years, he believed that performing cutting-edge research, learning new scientific methods, and making novel and interesting discoveries were essential for his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Outside of the lab and classroom, Stout led the successful effort to create Wright’s Field in Alpine, a 230-acre nature reserve that contains native habitat, including the rare plant Thornmint, and notable wildlife, such as the Hermes Copper and Quino Checkerspot butterflies.

He is survived by his wife, Yolaine of Alpine, and sons, Andrew, Robin and Mark, all of San Diego, as well as many friends and colleagues.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, Stout’s family asks that you consider donating to the Back Country Land Trust or to the cure-focused research fund at TSRI.

A memorial gathering at TSRI is in the planning stages.

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C. David Stout was a "consummate crystallographer."