In Memoriam

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John M. DeBoy, 2nd

Retired Public Health Laboratory Scientist and Director


   Our friend and colleague, Dr. John (Jack) M. DeBoy, 2nd, a public health laboratory scientist and former director of the Maryland Laboratories Administration, died of renal cancer on October 8, 2019. He was 73. 


   A Baltimore native, he earned degrees in zoology (1969) and microbiology (1977) from the University of MD. He also earned MPH (1978) and DrPH (1980) degrees in Public Health Laboratory Practice from the Univ. of NC in Chapel Hill and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. In his early career, he worked in the MD Laboratories Administration in Baltimore, then, while in the Army, at the 4th/5th U.S. Army Medical Laboratory at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. After military service he was employed in the Maxcy Laboratories at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and in the Microbiology Dept. of the Hopkins Medical School. After graduate school he served as director of laboratory operations for the Diagnostic Laboratory in the NY State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  He then accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in Medical and Public Health Microbiology at Washington University Medical center in St. Louis, MO. 


   He returned to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH’s) Laboratories Administration in 1984, and became its Director from 2003-2011. In addition to directing Maryland’s state public health laboratory systems, he also oversaw DHMH’s Division of Drug Control serving on numerous departmental, State-wide, federal, and professional committees, and task forces over four decades in public health. He served on various boards of directors including the American Academy of Microbiology, the National Registry of Microbiologists, the Maryland Public Health Association, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and the Alpha (Johns Hopkins) Chapter of Delta Omega, the National Public Health Honorary Society. 


   Dr. DeBoy was instrumental in drafting and shepherding many State bills and regulations dealing with medical laboratories, tissue banks, forensic laboratories, and employment-related drug testing. He also testified before the Maryland General Assembly and Congress on behalf of DHMH and APHL. Between 2003 and 2011 he played a key role in obtaining initial planning funds and then overseeing the multi-year design process for the Laboratories Administration’s current central laboratory in East Baltimore. After retiring from DHMH he worked for several years as a volunteer or part-time, independent consultant for APHL, the Centers for Disease Control, the Baltimore City Health Dept., several private companies, and as a Research Analyst for the federal EPA at Ft. Meade, MD. Jack also volunteered many years working on the doctoral program for laboratories at a Florida University.


   During his 50 year career in public health, Dr. DeBoy was a MD Government Executive Institute recipient, a winner of the Maryland Public Health Association’s President’s Award, a recipient of the Public Health Leadership Institute’s Martha Katz Award for Public Health Leadership, and winner of APHL’s Gold Standard Award for Public Health Laboratory Excellence.


    In honor of Jack’s memory, the John M. DeBoy II Scholarship Fund will be established. Donations will be accepted at a future date for this fund.  The Maryland Branch, ASM, offers its condolences to Jack's wife, Lorraine Kelly, and his family and to his public health colleagues in Maryland.

Mark E. Shirtliff, PhD


   Mark E. Shirtliff, PhD, served as President of the Maryland Branch of the American Society for Microbiology from 2007-2008. He was a Professor in the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis in the University of Maryland School of Dentistry with a secondary appointment as Professor in the Department of  Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine. Dr. Shirtliff began his training at the University of Texas Medical Branch in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, where he received his PhD in 2001 with his thesis titled “Staphylococcus Aureus: Roles in Osteomyelitis.” He then moved to the international training center for biofilm research, the Center for Biofilm Engineering in Bozeman, Montana, as a Post Doctoral Fellow to continue his work on biofilms and biofilm-related diseases with the late Dr. Bill Costerton and Dr. Anne Camper as mentors. Dr. Shirtliff became an Assistant Research Professor in 2003 in the Department of Microbiology at Montana State University and later that year accepted a position as Assistant Professor – tenure track in the School of Dentistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and was promoted to Full Professor with tenure in 2017. Until his very untimely death in July 2018, Dr. Shirtliff continued his research and teaching interests in biofilms and had many successful graduate students and post doctoral fellows who moved on to successful careers at various academic & government institutions.

©2019 by American Society for Microbiology.