Donation Spotlight: Q & A with Dean George Perry, Ph.D.

Dec 18, 2012

By Stephanie Sanchez, Communications Specialist

George Perry, Ph.D., a leading researcher in the field of Alzheimer's disease, recently donated to The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries files documenting his transition from junior to senior scientist.

The documents, now held in the University Archives, chronicle his academic career and research activities in the cytopathology of Alzheimer’s disease. The collection is organized into seven sections: correspondence, grants, university administration, article drafts, professional associations, laboratory notes, and conferences.

Perry, dean of the College of Sciences and professor of biology at UTSA, focuses his research on the mechanism of formation and physiological consequences of the cytopathology of Alzheimer’s disease, with the goal of developing effective treatments.

Perry received his doctoral degree in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego in 1979. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Cell Biology at Baylor College of Medicine.

In 1982, Perry joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University, where he became professor and interim-chair of pathology in the School of Medicine.

With more than 1,000 published articles, Perry is listed as one of the top 100 most-cited scientists in Neuroscience and one of the top 25 scientists in free radical research. Perry also serves as editor for numerous journals and is editor-in-chief for the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Tell us about the materials you donated to the UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

What you have traces my evolution from junior scientist to senior scientist and academic administrator.

This period is one of the major transitions for most scientists. As you become a senior scientist, you are able to look back to prior work and incorporate those studies as preliminary work for a current study, even though at the time it was collected that line of work seemed a failure.

Experiments always serve a purpose, although we often lack insight to understand them when they are performed. Ideally, in time either you grasp the necessary insight, or the work of others provides that missing piece that you did not understand.

Is there any particular piece that’s special to you?

The closest material to me is correspondence that shows the critical collaborations and friendships I have developed over the years.

Students and future researchers will have access to your materials, how do you hope they will be used?

Ideally to understand the development of UTSA, Alzheimer’s disease, and journals in my field, such as the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.  I was fortunate to begin my research during the early period of Alzheimer’s studies. I hope this material will give scholars a snapshot of some of the early research of Alzheimer’s disease far beyond my contribution.

Why was it important to you to donate your materials to the UTSA Libraries?

I think it is important that institutions create a history of place. We as faculty, staff and students contribute to the flow of events that are history and require documentation.

This is an incredible historical period for UTSA, as we develop a higher research profile. It is a transformational time, one that will not be repeated in our history. It is important to have a record of those people who played a role in UTSA’s vision.