In Memoriam

In memoriam: Lucy Chang and Fred Bollum

ASBMB Today Staff
Jan. 15, 2024

Lucy Chang and Fred Bollum, personal and professional partners for more than four decades and longtime members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, both died in the past year; Bollum on March 2 and Chang on Nov. 13.  Bollum was 95, and Chang was 81.

Frederick James Bollum was born June 14, 1927, in Ellsworth, Wisconsin, the son of Frederick Edward and Helen (Bucholtz) Bollum. He started college at the University of Minnesota as a zoology major and graduated in 1956 with a Ph.D. in physiological chemistry. He conducted a U.S. Public Health Service postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin. He then worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as a biochemistry professor at the University of Kentucky Medical School, and as chair and professor of biochemistry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

Lucy Ming Shih Chang was born August 20, 1942, in China, to Timothy Y.N. Chang and Florence I.C. Chang. She earned a B.S. in chemistry at Case Western Reserve University in 1964 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Indiana University in 1968; she then pursued postdoctoral research at the University of Kentucky. She began her independent research career the University of Connecticut before serving as professor and department chair at USUHS.

Bollum joined the ASBMB in 1961, and Chang joined in 1974. Bollum was a member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board in the mid-1960s. During their joint research career, they conducted seminal work on DNA polymerases and discovered the mammalian terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, or TdT, a specialized DNA polymerase expressed in precancerous cells and acute leukemia and lymphoma cells.

PDB
Lucy Chang and Fred Bollum built a business around their discovery of the mammalian terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, or TdT.

In 1982, Bollum and Chang founded Supertechs, Inc., a biotechnology firm in Rockville, Maryland, specializing in diagnostics for leukemia and apoptosis research. They worked to produce and market monospecific antibodies to TdT. Certain cancerous cells express abnormal concentrations of TdT, making high levels of TdT-positive cells in blood and bone marrow a symptom of disease. Together, Bollum and Chang developed numerous patents related to TdT and other related enzymes.

Bollum’s many interests included music (clarinet and guitar), radio-controlled plane and boat models, astronomy, sculpture and cabinetry. Chang enjoyed knitting. They both liked to travel and spend time at their house on the Chesapeake Bay where Bollum kept an eye on the wildlife and the heavens with his collection of telescopes and binoculars.

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ASBMB Today Staff

This article was written by a member or members of the ASBMB Today staff.

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