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NIH Record


CBER's Rick Nordan Mourned

Dr. Richard P. Nordan, 49, died in Bethesda on June 7 following a cerebral aneurysm suffered 2 days earlier.

He was born in Cheverly, Md., and was a lifelong resident of Prince George's and Montgomery counties; he had lived in Bethesda for the last 10 years. Nordan attended High Point High School in Beltsville. After high school, he spent several years as an auto mechanic before returning to his studies. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Richard P. Nordan

Nordan was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Genetics and a staff scientist and senior staff fellow in the Clinical Pharmacology Branch at the National Cancer Institute. For the last 4 years he was a principal investigator in the division of monoclonal antibodies of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA, located on the NIH campus. He was a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Nordan was an immunologist and a molecular biologist who was best known for his discovery of the cytokine interleukin 6, a key molecule in the function of the immune system. Interleukin 6 is also an important growth factor for myeloma cells, tumor cells specialized in the production of antibodies. His recent work concerned the mechanism of action of interleukin 6 and its receptor. He thoroughly characterized the mechanism by which interleukin 6 induces activation of the protooncogene jun B, a transcription factor critical in interleukin 6 action. To gain information on the process of growth-factor independence and cell transformation, he was most recently investigating the molecular differences in interleukin 6-dependent and independent myeloma cells. These studies will be continued by his colleagues.

Nordan was very active in his community. He was a den leader in Cub Scout Pack 204 in Bethesda, a coach of the Montgomery County Little League baseball team, the Marlins, and was in the starting lineup of the Ponce de Leon baseball team (an adult league).

Nordan was married to Dr. Beverly A. Mock, a principal investigator at NCI. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sons, Chris, age 5, and Alex, age 8, his brother Robert Nordan of Bowie and his mother, Mary P. Nordan of College Park.

Nordan's friends have established a trust fund for the children's education. Checks may be made out to Kathryn E. Stein or Ezio Bonvini and sent to the Division of Monoclonal Antibodies, HFM-555, NIH, Bldg. 29B, Rm. 3NN18.

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