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Professor of Cell Biology Sandy C. Marks Jr.

sandyA founding member of the Department of Cell Biology - then the Department of Anatomy, Dr. Sandy C. Marks, Jr., passed away unexpectedly in November of 2002. In the words of our Chancellor, Dr. Aaron Lazare, "One of the first faculty members at UMass Chan, Sandy was widely recognized as an outstanding teacher and educator and an active, imaginative scientist. He established the UMass Chan program in human gross anatomy and the anatomical gifts program, and served as a mentor to generations of medical and graduate students and as a personable, committed colleague to us all." 

The Sandy C. Marks Jr. Medical Education Fund, established by Dr. Marks's family, will be used each year to recognize a UMass Chan student who best exemplifies Sandy's extraordinary and energetic service to the community. Donations may be made to the Sandy C. Marks, Jr. Biomedical Education Fund, 370 Main Street, Suite 650, Worcester, MA 01608, USA

The following brief précis of Sandy's career was prepared by his friend and colleague in the Department of Cell Biology, Paul Odgren.


Born in 1937 in Wilmington, North Carolina, Sandy C. Marks spent most of his grade school and high school years in the Belgian Congo in Central Africa, where his father was dentist at a mission hospital. He returned to the United States after high school and earned his BS from Washington and Lee University, summa cum laude, in 1960; his DDS from the University of North Carolina in 1964; and his PhD from Johns Hopkins University, with highest honors, in 1968.

A faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Medical School since its founding in 1970, Dr. Marks was a professor of cell biology, radiology and surgery and founder of the UMass Chan Anatomy Department. He also established and served as director of the Anatomical Gifts program, which grew into the Clinical Anatomy Research Center for Massachusetts medical schools. He held a joint appointment as coordinator of Anatomical Gifts with Boston University, Harvard Medical School, Tufts Medical School and UMass Chan from 1976 -1986.

Dr. Marks mentored many, many graduate students, medical students, and post-doctoral scientists. He taught courses in anatomy, surgical anatomy, embryology, immunology and metabolic bone diseases, and also taught graduate medical courses on surgical anatomy of the head, neck, back and extremities; development, structure and function of the skeleton; and the anatomy of fracture repair and its application to the detection of child abuse. He also hosted a constant stream of visiting scientists from the world over and established research collaborations with investigators from five continents. He was a visiting professor at the Mayo Clinic, the Karolinska Institutet Center for Oral Biology in Huddinge, Sweden, and the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur.

Dr. Marks was the principal scientist on sixteen research grants spanning more than 35 years and served as a consultant on dozens of others. He was the author of over 270 scientific publications, research articles and textbooks covering a range of subjects, including bone cell biology, anatomy, reconstructive oral and facial surgery for leprosy patients, biochemistry, endocrinology, biomechanics, tooth eruption, hearing, genetics, growth and development, bone regeneration, the radiologic diagnosis of child abuse, and death and dying with dignity.

Dr. Marks served as a member on several UMass Chan committees, including pastoral care, human subjects, basic science curriculum, library, graduate study in immunology, and medical ethics and human values. He also volunteered as an oral surgeon at a free dental clinic in Worcester and maintained an active clinical practice as a periodontal surgeon.

In constant demand as an invited lecturer at medical and dental schools worldwide, Dr. Marks most recently lectured at the University of Vienna; International Federation of Associations of Anatomists meeting in Rome; the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur; Harvard University Medical School; Yale University Medical School; Boston University School of Dental Medicine; Cambridge University; Temple University School of Medicine; The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine; University of Nice School of Medicine, France; Tokyo Dental College; Hokkaido University School of Dentistry and the Sapporo Medical University; the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine; and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Dr. Marks was American editor of the journal Clinical Anatomy for ten years and served on the editorial boards of Bone, The American Surgeon and The American Journal of Anatomy. He was also a member of a variety of academic and professional societies, including the American Academy of Periodontology; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the American Association of Clinical Anatomists; the American Association of University Professors; the American Society for Cell Biology; the American College of Dentists; the International Committee for Confidential Counseling and Support in Medical Education; the International Federation of Associations of Anatomy Committee on Anatomical Education; the Mineralized Tissue Group's Constitution Committee; the National Medical School Faculty Committee of the American Institute of Life-Threatening Illness and Loss; the Worcester District Dental Society; and chair of the Basic Sciences Resource Committee.

Throughout his career, Dr. Marks was the recipient of numerous honors and awards that recognized his tireless contributions as an educator, scientist, and practitioner. Most recently, he was awarded honored membership in the American Association of Clinical Anatomists.

The many friends, colleagues, and students of Dr. Marks held a memorial celebration of his extraordinary and inspiring life at UMass Chan in December, 2002. Out of that grew a book which collected the remarks made that day, remembrances sent in of Dr. Marks from former students, research lab members, and other friends, and many photographs of him and his friends at work and play. The book is available as a PDF file at the link below. 

PDF file of Sandy Marks, Jr. Book of Remembrances