White Lillies

 John, We’ll Miss You

After a lengthy illness, our colleague and friend, John Lu passed away at the UCLA Ronald Regan Medical Center. John had a long career at UCLA and had a joint appointment in the Departments of Neurobiology and Obstetrics & Gynecology. He was a reproductive neuroendocrinologist and was a founding member of the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology along with Charles “Tom” Sawyer, Roger Gorski, Arthur Arnold and Anna Taylor. John received his PhD from Michigan State University, and after a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburg, he came west, first to UC San Diego and then in 1977 to UCLA. While doing seminal research on reproductive aging and menopause, John was a mainstay of the Mammalian Histology course our Department taught in the Dental School curriculum and the Seminar in Neuroendocrinology. A genuine enjoy, for John, was chairing and teaching a graduate course in “Cellular, Molecular and Functional Aspects of the Reproductive System”. This was a popular course with both graduate students and Ob/Gyn residents preparing for their specialty boards.

John Lu was a great colleague. Over the years we did research together, argued about results and finally had an NIH grant to explore the idea that estrogen positive feedback requires the synthesis of progesterone in the brain. I will miss his insightful observations and ability to troubleshoot, the sensitive yet finicky progesterone assay – without which our studies on neurosteroids would not have been possible. In the end, John was right: reproductive aging is an issue of progesterone – not enough progesterone.