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Kelly H. Clifton, Sr.

In Memoriam: Kelly H. Clifton, Sr.

(07/22/1927 - 08/24/2020)Member since 1958

Kelly H. Clifton Sr., PhD, an esteemed radiation biology researcher and a longtime member of the AACR, died August 24, 2020, at the age of 93.

Clifton was born July 22, 1927, in Spokane, Washington. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard, then earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Montana in 1950. He earned his PhD in zoology/endocrinology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1955. He conducted postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School and at the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation in Boston, then joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin. He was the university’s founding faculty member and first instructor in radiobiology. He also helped develop the university’s biology core curriculum and founded the human cancer biology graduate program.

Clifton’s research combined his interests in endocrinology and radiation biology. He studied mechanisms of carcinogenesis, such as the way cancer developed in mammary and thyroid cells in response to ionizing radiation. His lab developed monodispersion and in vivo transplantation procedures required to quantify the mammary and thyroid cells capable of proliferation and monoclonal organoid formation.

Clifton joined the AACR in 1958, and most recently was an Emeritus member. He served on the Editorial Advisory Board of Cancer Research and was also an associate editor.

Clifton was a member of the Radiation Research Society, and served as an associate editor of Radiation Research. He was a member of the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation committee. From 1980 to 1982, he was chief of research and board member of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, an organization established to follow the health of the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.