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June Lascelles

Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Emerita

Los Angeles



Professor June Lascelles passed away on July 15th, 2004, due to complications from cancer. She will be missed as an accomplished scholar, dedicated learner, highly respected experimentalist, unique role model, and rare friend. Professor Lascelles was born in Sydney, Australia, where she received her early education. She then studied bacterial metabolism at Oxford University, earning a Ph.D. in 1952. She taught and conducted research at Oxford until 1965, and then joined the faculty of the Department of Bacteriology (now named Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics) at UCLA. Here and at Oxford she provided early and fundamental insights into bacteriochlorophyll biosynthesis. Importantly, she and Bill Sistrom single-handedly brought genetics to bear on this question, bringing it into the modern era. Professor Lascelles became professor emerita in 1979, and was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1990, in recognition of her fundamental contributions to our understanding of bacterial physiology.


June had an uncommonly strong sense of personal identity, the sort often aspired to, but seldom achieved. With equally strong convictions, she was outspoken but always objective. Thankfully, June was active in her garden and took daily walks in Brentwood up until her last few days, and then passed away peacefully, still sharp-witted. Those who knew her well will sorely miss her.


Robert Simons

Robert P. Gunsalus