Deanna Csomo McCool | April 15, 2020
When Francis Castellino attended scientific conferences during his early days at the University of Notre Dame, his colleagues primarily wanted to talk about just one topic.
The football team.
“Not the academic accomplishments of the University,” said Castellino, a biochemist who has been at the University of Notre Dame for 50 years and is currently the director of the W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research. “But the football program is really important to this place, and it makes a huge difference in terms of the university being known all over the country, having alumni coming together for certain activities, and generating loyalty in those who follow us. “
He’s thankful that he doesn’t get asked exclusively about the football program anymore, but added, “that ‘community’ does lead to academic excellence.”
That community of alumni, however, wouldn’t have formed without the dedication of professors including Castellino, according to Victoria Ploplis, a research professor and associate director of the W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research. She was one of his graduate students in the 1970s, when Castellino did rounds in the lab, talking every day to all the investigators and students about current experiments.
“He was on top of everyone’s research, and still does that to this day,” she said. “Asking, ‘What’s the science?’”
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