Friends and colleagues at NIEHS and the Louisiana State University (LSU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) center are mourning the loss of Harold “Barry” Dellinger, Ph.D., who passed away March 9, after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
“Barry was an outstanding scientist and an amazing human being, who was loved and respected by everyone who knew him,” said NIEHS and National Toxicology Program Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. “He made great advances in the field of environmental combustion research and had a profound impact on his colleagues, students, friends, and family. He will be sorely missed.”
Insights into pollutant formation during combustion
Dellinger is known for his expertise on how compounds, especially hazardous organic pollutants, degrade as a result of combustion. He made significant contributions to the understanding of how polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans form in thermal processes. He also greatly advanced knowledge of compounds known as environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs), which are combustion-generated particles found in airborne particulate matter. These discoveries prompted Dellinger to start the LSU SRP center in 2011, to study the origin, fate, and health effects of EPFRs.
“Barry was a great supporter of our program and the institute. He was a friend and ally of the SRP from the beginning and was the driving force behind the extraordinary center at LSU,” said William Suk, Ph.D., NIEHS SRP director. “His insightful management and brilliant research will be greatly missed, but the foundation he established will continue to guide the LSU center.”
From North Carolina to Louisiana
Dellinger was a native of North Carolina, graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an avid Carolina basketball fan. He received his Ph.D. from Florida State University and served his country in the U.S. Air Force for ten years, retiring at the rank of captain. His postdoctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania were followed by 16 years at the University of Dayton Research Institute.
LSU heavily recruited Dellinger, and in 1998 he joined the university as professor of chemistry and Patrick F. Taylor Chair. At LSU, he published more than 225 papers and secured extensive research funding. His students were also extremely important to him. During his tenure at the university, he advised 12 Ph.D. students, who have now graduated, as well as several postdoctoral researchers and research associates.
(Sara Mishamandani is a research and communication specialist for MDB Inc., a contractor for the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training.)