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JOHN WOODLAND "WOODY" HASTINGS


1927 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
JOHN WOODLAND "WOODY" HASTINGS Obituary
Hastings, John Woodland "Woody" John Woodland "Woody" Hastings, 87 died at his home on August 6, 2014 due to pulmonary fibrosis. Born in Seaford, Delaware on March 24, 1927, he was the son of the late Vaughan A. Hastings and Katherine Anne Stevens. At age ten Woody joined the Cathedral of St John the Divine boys' choir in New York. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1947 and received his doctorate in 1951 from Princeton University working on bioluminescence and cell physiology. Hastings was a leader in the field of bioluminescence and was a founder in the field of circadian biology. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University from 1951-1953, then accepted a faculty position at Northwestern University in 1953 and began studies on marine plankton, fireflies and biological clocks. In 1957 he joined the Biochemistry Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, then joined the faculty of Harvard University in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1966. Hastings was known for his discovery of quorum sensing in bacteria, and he initially identified the role of energy transfer from light-emitting luciferase to florescent proteins, such as Green Florescent Protein (GFP). Hastings was also a major contributor toward understanding how the biological clock works that is responsible for jet lag. He loved to teach, and his lab was always stimulating and inclusive with a free exchange of ideas. He wrote over 430 peer reviewed publications, was recipient of the Farrel Prize in Sleep Medicine, was Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He had a lifelong relationship at the Marine Biological Laboratory, in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, beginning as a graduate student, then as Director of the Physiology Course, and then as trustee. In 1953, Woody married Hanna Machlup Hastings, who died in 2009. He is remembered for his love of fun, of adventure, and friends. He is survived by his four children Jennifer, David, Laura and Marissa, five grandchildren, and his companion Barbara Cheresh. A memorial service at Pforzheimer House at Harvard University is planned for October.
Published in The Boston Globe on Aug. 8, 2014
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