Carleen M. Collins, PhD, 52, a prominent microbiologist and expert in microbial pathogenesis, died of complications from lung cancer on February 12, 2008; at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, Washington.
Carleen grew up in Woodland Hills, CA and graduated from Louisville High School in 1973. She received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in microbiology from UCLA, followed by postdoctoral training with Stanley Falkow at Stanford University School of Medicine. As a Fulbright Scholar, Carleen studied at the University of Umea, Sweden. She rose to full professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine where she taught and headed a microbiology research laboratory. In 2002, Carleen moved to Seattle, WA, and joined the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington.
Her career focused on the molecular mechanisms of bacterial virulence, with a specific emphasis on the activities and structures of bacterial exotoxins. She made major contributions to the understanding of diseases caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, ubiquitous bacteria that are responsible for a wide spectrum of diseases, including infections of the skin and throat, food poisoning, and toxic shock syndrome. She also made major contributions to understanding the mechanisms for the regulation of bacterial virulence factors. Recently, Carleen had embarked on a new area of research to understand how bacteria promote disease through interactions with specific insects as part of their transmission to humans. She was very excited and proud of this work which demonstrated her remarkable creativity, energy, and skill in developing new areas of exciting research.
Well traveled through Europe, she enjoyed and collected fine wines. In no particular order, Carleen was devoted to People magazine, baseball games at which she kept score, Cary Grant movies, cross-stitch, the opera, and miniature roses.
Carleen is survived by her beloved family: husband, Ira Hershkowitz; children, Meghan and Matthew; JJ the dog; mother Rita; and siblings Michael, Sharon, Laurie, Janine, James, Kimberly, and Sean (deceased).
Donations in Carleen’s memory can be made by check (payable to UW Foundation) to:
UW Medicine Development
Seattle, WA 98195-8045
Alternatively, you can donate online at the following web site:
Carleen M. Collins, Ph.D. Lectureship in Microbiology