Corey Largman, 1944-2009
Sad news found me last week when I learned that my previous mentor, Corey Largman, passed away last October. I had the pleasure of working in Corey’s lab for two years as a technician, where I learned a great deal from him. The lab was quite small, and I was able to talk to him on a daily basis. He was a glass-is-half-empty kind of scientist, but personally he was encouraging. He provided me with a great deal of freedom in how I pursued my project (an ambitious one that never reached publication), but pulled in the reins just enough to teach me when I was going in the right direction and when I was fluttering.
I learned equally important lessons from the way he balanced work with everything else. Corey was very strict about how he split his time between work, family, and personal. He spent generous amounts of time with his family—his wife, children, and grandchildren. He was an avid outdoorsman too, taking hiking and kayaking trips with friends each year throughout the western United States. These activities did not detract from his productivity in the lab as he still published more than one-hundred papers, and his passion for science never wavered.
Corey received his Ph.D. in Chemistry at MIT, and he spent the early part of his career studying serine proteases. He later switched fields, and for the remainder of his career investigated the roles of HOX genes in hematopoiesis and myeloid leukemias. He conducted all this work at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, first in Martinez, CA, and later in San Francisco. He was also a Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco, and had just retired only months prior to his death.
My last day in Corey’s lab, late on a sunny afternoon, he took me out for a drink. We rode our bikes down to the Cliff House, which is perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There, over cold beers and fried calamari, we talked.
Rest in peace Corey.