CMAST is saddened by the passing of Professor of Toxicology Dr. Patricia McClellan-Green on May 18 due to complications from bacterial meningitis. “Pat McClellan-Green was an integral part of our CMAST family, and we are stunned and heartbroken over this loss, a loss which is both professional and personal. CMAST will not be the same without her,” said Dr. David Eggleston, Director of CMAST.
Pat is survived by husband Dr. David Green–also at CMAST as director of the NCSU Seafood Laboratory–and their two sons, Will and Joe.
Pat began her career as a post-doctoral researcher in 1989 at the Duke University Marine Laboratory. She moved to CMAST a decade ago where she maintained a lab and performed research in environmental and molecular toxicology of marine systems. Her research focused on the study of man-made and natural toxins in the marine environment and their effects on the metabolic activities of marine organisms. She cared deeply about the effect these toxins on human life and the environment, and worked tirelessly to expand knowledge in this area of study.
Her colleagues at CMAST feel this loss deeply. “Pat was an excellent toxicologist that I enjoyed working with and learning from,” said Jeff Buckel, Professor of Applied Ecology who was a fellow CMAST faculty member. “She cared just as much about your personal well-being as she did about your professional life often stopping by my office just to ask how my family was doing. I will miss her greatly.”
She was also a nurturing and inspirational force (as well as a tough taskmaster) for graduate students fortunate enough to study under her. Pat was like a proud mother when one of her students attained his or her degree.
Vicky Thayer, Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator for Central NC, recalled an incident illustrating Pat’s dedication to her role as teacher: “Pat cared so deeply about students and went the extra mile to give them access to unique experiences. When a humpback whale stranded at Hatteras, with an hour’s notice, Pat took her own car to transport three NCSU CMAST summer interns up to assist with the necropsy. The experience was so moving that one of the students wrote all of her college admission essays about the event.”
Besides her work with CMAST, she was also involved with other agencies, such as North Carolina Sea Grant. “Pat’s scientific contributions and warm personality will be missed by North Carolina Sea Grant and so many other colleagues,” said Susan White, North Carolina Sea Grant executive director.
“She had participated in several of our research projects involving oyster health and was known as a key collaborator with other labs and agencies conducting marine science in the coastal region and across the state. I first met Pat when she was at the Duke Marine Lab. She was a great teacher and mentor to undergraduate and graduate students learning the scientific process. I recall how classmates valued her courses,” White added.
Her lab and office shared a hall with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, and her hall mates recall fondly Pat’s sense of humor and fun. When asked what she was doing one afternoon, she smiled and said, “sexing snails!” She was known to poke her head in the test kitchen whenever she smelled the aroma of something new cooking. “She was always so positive, so friendly, such a joy to be around. We are all broken-hearted and the hall will feel empty without her,” said CES Director Anne Edwards.
Her sense of humor and warm compassion were very much a part of what she brought to her work and life. On both a professional and personal level, she will be very much missed.