Dr. Frederick C. Greenwood, 73, one of the most beloved, outspoken and respected University of Hawaii-Manoa research leaders, died early yesterday of liver cancer.
research to the forefront
at UH Manoa
By Helen Altonn
He directed the Pacific Biomedical Research Center for 27 years, developing PBRC into an internationally recognized institution.
The center attracted an estimated $80 million for research and training over the years through his efforts, building on a state investment of about $25 million.
Alan Teramura, UH senior vice president for research, said: "Fred was one of our most outstanding directors and researchers ... Through his leadership at PBRC, he 'spun off' both the medical school and the Cancer Research Center.
"He was a brilliant individual with a very creative mind and one of the finest gentlemen on this campus," Teramura said.
Despite failing health, Greenwood was in his office until the last week of July, said Marilyn Dunlap, his assistant. He announced July 13 that he was stepping down on Aug. 1. Dr. Martin Rayner, professor of medicine, became acting PBRC director.
A former marathon runner, Greenwood survived two multiple bypass surgeries and "he fought this one (cancer) long and hard," Dunlap said. He was given one year to live after a tumor was removed in December, 1998, she said. "He was a tough old bird ... He lived beyond that."
She said he died at home surrounded by his wife, Gillian Bryant-Greenwood, also an internationally recognized PBRC scientist, and children, Peter Bryant-Greenwood and Kate Greenwood.
Greenwood was noted, among many attributes, for his organizational abilities. He gave his wife lists of things to do upon his death and people to e-mail.
He also wrote his own obituary. Colleagues were surprised that it was purely factual, expecting it to reflect his keen sense of humor. "Almost everything else he's ever written has a touch of something," Rayner said.
"Someone should interject that very blithe, brilliant spirit that lived inside of Fred," said Rosanne Harrigan, dean of the School of Nursing who headed the UH Council of Deans and Directors until July 1.
"He was just a wonderful man," Rayner said, "loved essentially by all of us -- even the people he drove wild."
Greenwood was born and educated in England. He left the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London in 1968 to join the UH Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. He received many awards in England and here for his endocrine research.
Greenwood and Dr. Gillian Bryant established a research and teaching laboratory in Hawaii with federal funding before he became PBRC director in 1973.
He sought federal support for the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, which began in PBRC, and obtained federal funding for research training programs for minority undergraduate students. A Research Centers in Minority Institutions Program was established with a 1985 grant.
State-of-the-art molecular and electron microscopy techniques became available to UH researchers through that program. It resulted in Hawaii's first AIDS research program, now a major retrovirology research lab and AIDS Clinical Trials Unit.
PBRC started a Native Hawaiian Research Activity focusing on diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and molecular endocrinology and matrix pathobiology became areas of excellence.
A clinical research center was funded as a joint program of PBRC, the Medical School and Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.
In 1984, the biomedical research center incorporated a Hawaiian Evolutionary Biology Program which developed into a Center for Conservation Research and Training.
Harrigan said when she first met Greenwood, "I thought, 'My God, who is that pompous ass?' I came to love him ... This university would not have its research enterprise without him.
"Fred was very outspoken and generally right on the mark," said C. Barry Raleigh, dean of the School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology. "He had strong convictions and was absolutely unafraid to voice them, which was a very rare and prized quality among academics."
A sign in Greenwood's office expressed his philosophy and personality: "PBRC: We will foster research by any means short of a prison sentence."