In Memory

Faye Austin

Date of Birth:  July 9, 1951    Date of Death:  September 1, 2004

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04/19/09 11:11 PM #1    

Beth Simpson (Huddleston)

In Loving Memory of Faye E. Austin

A former Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Dr. Faye E. Austin died after a long battle with cancer on September 1, 2004 at the age of 53. Faye, a native of Floyd County, spent her career in research, education and service, and she made several important accomplishments during her short life. She was a member of the American Society for Microbiology, where she served as Secretary-Treasure for the Kentucky-Tennessee Branch for several years. Faye was also a member of the American Society for Rickettsiology and the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. She was an ad hoc reviewer for the European Journal of Immunology and Current Eye Research. After receiving her B.S. degree in medical technology in 1973 from James Madison College in Harrisonburg, Faye worked as a medical technologist in the clinical laboratory of the VA hospital in Durham, NC. She received her M.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Virginia Tech in 1978 and her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1984 and then held a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Herbert Winkler at the University of South Alabama. There Faye studied host amino acid incorporation by the obligate intracellular bacterial parasite. Rickettsia prowazekii. In 1988, she became Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, eventually being promoted to Associate Professor. Microbial physiology was Faye’s passion. Her initial focus was research on aspects of rickettsial physiology. She later spent time in researching Lyme disease, and she and her graduate students received funding from the National Institutes of Health. The work in the laboratory included identifying which proteins were regulated at growth in different oxygen concentrations and studying their potential roles in pathogencity in a neonatal rate model of Lyme disease.

During her teaching career, Faye taught courses to medical and dental students and courses in microbial pathogenesis and physiology to graduate students. She designed an upper-level course in intracellular parasitology for graduate students. Faye also traveled abroad to present seminars and to attend conferences.

In addition to imparting knowledge to her students and teaching them how to do scientific research, Faye took a personal interest in their lives, sharing special events such as taking them out to lunch to celebrate birthdays.

When she graduated from Floyd County High School in 1969, Faye was named salutatorian. One of her best friends, Connie Quesenberry, recalled Faye was very studious at school and active in the community and with the Haven’s Chapel United Methodist Church and youth there. She was also involved in the 4-H program as she went through school.

Lovingly missed by her mother,
Agatha Vest Austin

04/21/09 04:05 PM #2    

Rebecca West (Smythers)

I had the privilege of having several classes with Faye in high school and by senior year I had gotten to know her well. Through the years she helped me survive various math classes and I can see where she would be a patient and excellent teacher. I am not at all shocked to see what a successful career Faye had in her short life. She was definitely one of the most intelligent people I have known and she was also genuinely nice. I was extremely saddened to learn of Faye's premature passing. She accomplished so much in her life and could have done so much more, but the world is definitely a better place because of her.

With fond memories,
Becky West Smythers

05/30/09 05:27 PM #3    

Joan Wimmer (Nichols)

Faye was very sweet and wonderful person.We were in grade school together. Didn't have any classes with her at the high school, but one of her brothers, James married my cousin, Charlotte, we had something good in common!! Ha!
She done more in her short life than some do thru their whole life. She was a very special person.

Sadly Missed!

07/13/09 02:04 PM #4    

Lyle Wimmer

Faye was our 3rd cousin and we knew each other all our lives. She had a great sense of humor and always enjoyed all the things we did as a group with the Haven's Chapel MYF growing up together in the Terry's Fork area. Faye was one of the smartest people I ever met. She learned everything put in front of her and never forgot anything! How she was able to do that and have a great attitude all the time too was amazing. Faye was truly a jewel and we all miss her.

07/17/09 01:55 PM #5    

Dorma Morgan (Yeatts)

As we are ready to celebrate our 40th Class Reunion this weekend, my thoughts have turned to Faye today. Oh how she would have loved to be with us in our celebration. Faye's health became frail just as she was preparing to go on the speaking circuit and share with the medical field her research on lyme disease. I can only imagine how exciting that would have been for her to share that information with everyone. It is so hard to understand why Faye, who has contributed so much to our society, is taken away from us so early in life. We know that it was God's plan, so we try to move on but always hold onto our memories of her.

I had the privilege of getting together with Faye and having dinner with her and the other Check Chicks several times since graduation. Those are precious memories!

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