Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

September 14, 2017

Obituary: Roger W. Hendrix

Roger Hendrix

Roger Hendrix

Roger W. Hendrix, distinguished professor in the Dietrich School of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Biological Sciences, died August 15, 2017, at age 74.

“Roger was an outstanding researcher and prolific contributor to the literature in microbiology,” said James M. Pipas, professor and Herbert W. and Grace Boyer Chair of Molecular Biology. “A sharp mind, a mischievous sense of humor and a love of music endeared Roger to all his colleagues and friends.”

Born July 7, 1943, Hendrix earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at California Institute of Technology in 1965 and moved to Harvard University to study for his doctorate with James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. As a graduate student, Hendrix did pioneering work on gene expression in bacteriophage lambda, and after completing his PhD in 1970 he moved to Stanford University to work as a postdoctoral researcher with Dale Kaiser.

In 1973, Hendrix joined Pitt as an assistant professor in the departments of biochemistry and of biophysics and microbiology, which subsequently merged with the biology department to become the Department of Biological Sciences. He was promoted to associate professor in 1978, to full professor in 1986, and to distinguished professor in 2009. He was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, senior scholar, in 1997.

Hendrix’s primary focus was on the structure, assembly and evolution of bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacterial cells. His contributions to microbiology include the development of in vitro methods for viral assembly, which paved the way for detailed biochemical and structural analyses of this process, and his studies of bacteriophage genomics opened the field of viral diversity and evolution.

He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and received the National Academy of Sciences Prize for Excellence in Scientific Reviewing. He also served on numerous journal editorial boards and professional committees.

As a clarinet and recorder player, Hendrix was a regular contributor to the University of Pittsburgh orchestra and a member of the woodwind section for more than 30 years.

He is survived by his wife Susan and his brother Barton. A celebration of his life and memorial service is scheduled to be held on Nov. 10, 2017, at Heinz Chapel.


Filed under: Feature,Volume 50 Issue 2

Leave a Reply