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Fredric S. Fay was a founding member of the UMass Chan Department of Physiology and one of the school’s most gifted and productive faculty members. His premature death at the age of 53 (in March 1997) cut short a remarkably creative career that included seminal contributions to understanding the physiology of smooth muscle, and the pioneering development of digital imaging fluorescence microscopy that permitted observation of dynamic movement of molecules in living cells in real time. Fred perfected the use of the single smooth muscle cell preparation to study virtually every aspect of smooth muscle physiology and molecular anatomy at the cellular and subcellular level. Establishment of the freshly isolated single smooth muscle cell system was ground-breaking because smooth muscle cells rapidly lose their differentiated contractile phenotype in culture.

Fred made fundamental contributions concerning the organization of the contractile apparatus and how it is turned on and off in response to various physiological signals. Efforts to understand how smooth muscle contracts had been hampered by the lack of any technology that would allow Fred to look inside the cells and see what was happening molecule by molecule. He therefore set out to devise optical instruments to do just that. He assembled an extraordinary team of physicists, mathematicians, and computer scientists who together created powerful and innovative optical technology that placed the Biomedical Imaging Group at UMass at the forefront of biomedical imaging at the cellular and subcellular levels. The continued campus-wide interest in using state-of-the-art imaging technology to visualize fundamental physiological processes of cells and this Memorial Lecture, created in Fred's honor, are enduring testimony that his spirit of creativity, curiosity, and love of scholarship lives on among us.

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Fredric S. Fay Lecture

17th Fred Fay Lecture


18th Fred Fay Lecture


19th Fred Fay Lecture


20th Fred Fay Lecture