Former Department Chair Dies
Published: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 13:05
Former Chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics Zofia Zukowska died on April 15 at her home in Stillwater, Minn.
Zukowska, who was 63 years old, had been suffering from glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer.
Zukowska became a professor in 1986 and gained tenure in 1995, chairing the department from 2006 to 2010. During her time at the university, she received multiple awards, particularly for her research on neuropeptide Y, a major neurotransmitter in the central and peripheral nervous systems. These accolades include the N. Copernicus Award for Excellence in Research in 2002, the Georgetown EVP Outstanding Achievement in Science in 2008 and the Outstanding Woman Scientist Award the same year.
“Dr. Zukowska was an outstanding research scientist, as indicated by her having received a 10-year MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health, an excellent teacher and mentor to students and role model for young faculty,” Elliott Crooke, chair of the biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology department, said. “She was a fantastic colleague, always eager and excited to share her scientific findings as well as hear about those of others.”
A native of Sosnowiec, Poland, Zukowska received her medical and doctorate degrees from the Warsaw Medical Academy in 1972 and 1980, respectively. She moved from Poland to the United States to pursue her post-doctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health before joining Georgetown’s faculty in 1986.
She took a job as professor and director of the new Stress Physiology Center at the University of Minnesota in 2010. There, she continued her research on the effects of stress on cardiovascular and metabolic health and diseases, with particular focus on the role of neuropeptide Y.
Zukowska is survived by her husband, John Mill, two children and a stepdaughter.
“She will be missed greatly by members of the Georgetown community as well as by the larger scientific community,” Crooke said.