Our very dear friend and colleague, Dr David S Segal, a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego, tragically and prematurely passed away on August 23, 2005, after a very short and aggressive course of pancreatic cancer. He died at peace, surrounded by his family: his loving wife, Betsy Morris; children, Jennifer Diascro, Julie Fallon, and Jeffrey Segal; and his stepchildren, Anna and Nick Slutsky. Also of comfort were his children's spouses, Mathew Diascro, William Fallon, Christine Segal, and Ian Lowe; and two grandchildren, Roman and Benjamin.
David earned his PhD in Psychobiology at the University of California at Irvine, and after 2 years of postdoctoral work was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego. He was one of the founding members of the UCSD Department of Psychiatry, rapidly rising to the rank of Professor, a very strong affirmation of his academic and scientific creativity and productivity, as well as the high esteem of his colleagues at UC San Diego and beyond.
His commitment to scientific quality was legendary and his personal and scientific standards were always impeccable and above reproach. He leaves a great legacy of scientific contributions and accomplishments as an internationally recognized behavioral neuropsychopharmacologist. He was nationally and internationally known as an expert and a creative scientific leader in the study of the long-term effects of drugs on behavior and the neurochemical mechanisms of adaptation. His contributions featured groundbreaking innovative research strategies as well as important methodological advances. Specifically, his work on the effects of stimulants on the brain provided a basis for understanding the mechanisms of drug-induced psychosis and mania, and the therapeutic action of stimulants in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. He was a prolific research scientist, publishing 179 papers and chapters in high-quality scientific journals, and invited prestigious review monographs.
David was an enthusiastic, loyal, and committed member of the ACNP for many years. He served on the Ethics Committee and was also a member of the Scientific Program and Communications Committees. He always looked forward to talking with friends and colleagues during meetings of the College that he attended regularly. He loved the ACNP and was always stimulated and energized by the science presented at the meetings. His warm presence, passion, energy, and companionship at ACNP meetings will be sorely missed by his many friends in the College.
He often stated that one of the most rewarding experiences in his career was his tenure as Senior Scientific Advisor to the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Washington, DC. He also served as an invaluable member on the NIMH External Scientific Advisory Board. He had an unbroken track record of peer-reviewed research funding from the NIH throughout his entire career and was an NIH Research Scientist Awardee for over 20 years. In addition, he contributed to the field by being Regional Editor for Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, as well as a member of the Editorial Board of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.
He was an inherently fair-minded, highly ethical, and scrupulously honest person, in short, a very wise, intelligent, and humane man, which made him an ideal candidate to serve as a regular, ongoing, and valuable contributor to the UCSD academic community. He served as Vice Chair, Committee on Privilege and Tenure; Vice Chair of The Campus-wide Planning and Budget Committee; Chair, Ad Hoc Panel, Office of Conflict of Interest; and Chair of the Conflict of Interest: Management Subcommittee, as well as other numerous committees in the School of Medicine and in Department of Psychiatry.
In addition, he was an active participant and contributor to the UC San Diego Neurosciences PhD Program as member of its Executive Committee; Chair of the Core Curriculum Committee; member of the Minor Proposition Examination Committee, as well as a very active valued teacher and mentor. He also served on many PhD dissertation committees of candidates in the Neurosciences.
David's loyalty and contributions to his colleagues at UC San Diego in general and to the Department of Psychiatry, in particular in the personal, scientific, and academic spheres, are legion and we all have benefited greatly from his having been with us for over 35 years. He was a rare spirit, an everyday vital warm presence, and a valued and brilliant leader in our Department as the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs. In this role, he was a generous and generative guide and mentor for many, many young faculty, trainees, and students in psychiatry, neuroscience, psychology, and neuropsychopharmacology. He leaves a great legacy as a superbly creative and productive neuroscientist and neuropsychopharmacologist, as a gifted and committed academic leader, teacher, mentor, friend, and as a wonderful man full of wisdom and caring for others—all with the light touch of a delightful sense of humor. The many people whose lives he has touched will and already do miss him greatly. Although we are, as a Department, heartbroken at his premature loss, we know it is up to us individually and collectively to carry on in his spirit and in his memory, as he wished.
In his honor, the David Segal Junior Faculty Development Fund has been established at UCSD, which will accept donations in his memory. Checks can be made payable to the UC Regents and sent to Carol Latham, UCSD Foundation, 9500 Gilman Drive, mail code 0831, La Jolla, California 92093-0831. The family also welcomes donations in David's honor to San Diego Hospice or any cancer-related charity.
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Judd, L., the ACNP Group. David Segal, 1942–2005. Neuropsychopharmacol 31, 893–894 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.npp.1301024