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Remembering Dr. Mary Shimoyama

The faculty and staff of the Rat Genome Database are deeply grieved to announce the recent passing of Dr. Mary Shimoyama, principal investigator of RGD.

Dr. Shimoyama has been involved with the Rat Genome Database since she first began working at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in 2000, helping it evolve into the leading resource for rat genomic, genetic, phenotype and disease data. She earned her PhD in biomedical informatics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2011 and became an assistant professor of surgery at MCW. In 2016, she was promoted to associate professor in the Marquette University and MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Shimoyama was exceptionally, and justifiably, proud of becoming the principal investigator for the Rat Genome Database and leading it through a recent competitive renewal. She was also honored to be the Vice Chair of Research and Clinical Affairs for the department this past year.

Dr. Shimoyama was a strong proponent of the use of model organism data and bioinformatic methods to support research into human disease and was a passionate advocate for the creation and use of data standards, which led to her involvement as a founding principal investigator with the Alliance of Genome Resources. The primary mission of the Alliance is to develop and maintain sustainable genome information resources that facilitate the use of diverse model organisms in understanding the genetic and genomic basis of human biology, health and disease.

Beyond her work in genome research and bioinformatics, Dr. Shimoyama was the co-director of the bioinformatics graduate program, and she was always eager to engage undergraduate and graduate students in informatics research. As an educator, she also served as an adjunct professor and instructor in the College of Health Sciences and Biomedical and Health Informatics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

In her free time, Dr. Shimoyama enjoyed cooking for friends and family, gardening, spending time with her dog, Dexter, and seeing the flowers and displays at the Mitchell Park Domes and the animals and exhibits at the Milwaukee County Zoo with her children and grandchildren. She also liked going to brunch with her sisters and family and attending the various ethnic festivals around Milwaukee, especially the International Folk Fair.

Dr. Shimoyama is survived by her sons, Takuma (Miku), Naoki (Shannon) and Makishi; daughter, Keito; grandchildren, Kai and Mei; and sisters, Anne (John) Gorski and Pat Walsh (Sarah Morgan).

Dr. Shimoyama’s family welcomes memorial gifts to support Women in Science or the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) online at https://mcwsupport.mcw.edu/makeagift (Gift Designation = Other; Type = Women in Science OR SPUR). Checks can be made out to the “MCW – Women in Science” or “MCW – SPUR” and sent to the Medical College of Wisconsin, Attn: Office of Development, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226.


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RGD is funded by grant HL64541 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on behalf of the NIH.