In Memoriam

In memoriam: Patti Erickson

ASBMB Today Staff
June 13, 2022

Patti Taranto Erickson, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Salisbury University and the faculty adviser of Salisbury’s American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Student Chapter, died Dec. 24 at home in Salisbury, Maryland. She was 54 and had been fighting breast cancer for 16 months.

Patti Erickson

Born Nov. 13, 1967, in New Jersey, to Alfred and Patricia Taranto, Erickson moved with her family to Shelby, North Carolina in 1975. She attended the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, a public residential high school for high-achieving students, and then went to Virginia Tech, where she earned an honors degree in biochemistry. She interned for a year at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Germany before earning a Ph.D. in plant biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1998.

Erickson worked as a bioeducation scientist at Bio-Rad Laboratories in Hercules, California, until she and her husband moved to Maryland. For several years, she was a stay-at-home mother and ran Patti’s Handmade Chocolates. She joined the Salisbury faculty in 2008.

In her lab, Erickson investigated responses to oxidative stress, including whether nordihydroguaiaretic acid, a lipid-soluble compound with antioxidant properties, protects the creosote bush from environmental stresses or inhibits germination of competing plants. The lab also used RNA interference to knock down target genes in Caenorhabditis elegans and test for altered oxidative stress responses.

Erickson often mentored SU students in collaboration with colleagues at George Washington University and the J. Craig Venter Institute where she did genomics research during a sabbatical year. She took groups to national scientific conferences where, according to an obituary, she excelled in getting her students to meet and take selfies with Nobel laureates.

As SU chapter adviser, Erickson used a Student Chapters Outreach Grant to bring elementary school students to the university, where they did experiments and toured the science facilities, and also helped chapter members organize science activities for children at local libraries.

Erickson’s parents created a scholarship fund at Salisbury to support students who are dedicated to the pursuit and application of knowledge in the biological sciences.

She is survived by her husband, Les Erickson, and son, Spencer, as well as her parents, a brother and a sister.

Enjoy reading ASBMB Today?

Become a member to receive the print edition monthly and the digital edition weekly.

Learn more
ASBMB Today Staff

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

Get the latest from ASBMB Today

Enter your email address, and we’ll send you a weekly email with recent articles, interviews and more.

Latest in People

People highlights or most popular articles

Nights and days in the lab
BMB in Africa

Nights and days in the lab

June 23, 2022

With help from colleagues, mentors and others, Oluwaseyefunmi Adeniran pursues her dream of making scientific discoveries that improve human health.

A phage agent of change
BMB in Africa

A phage agent of change

June 22, 2022

Tolulope Oduselu, a student at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, got hands-on research experience through a multinational program.

ASBMB names 2023 award winners
Announcement

ASBMB names 2023 award winners

June 21, 2022

Don’t miss their lectures at #DiscoverBMB in March in Seattle.

‘Life happens, but we keep pushing’
BMB in Africa

‘Life happens, but we keep pushing’

June 21, 2022

ASBMB member Adaude Amalunweze is a scientist and educator in Nigeria.

Protein Society announces 2022 awards
Member News

Protein Society announces 2022 awards

June 20, 2022

Among those recognized are ASBMB members Squire Booker, Daniel Herschlag and Nozomi Ando.

In memorian:  Nadrian Seeman
In Memoriam

In memorian: Nadrian Seeman

June 20, 2022

He was, a nanotechnologist who built the first self-assembling DNA structures and a member of the ASBMB since 1986.