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In Memoriam: Webster S.S. Jee, Ph.D.

By Scott Miller, PhD


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Webster S.S. Jee, one of the giants in the fields of bone biology and radiobiology.

Dr. Jee was born and raised in Oakland, California. He served in the US Army Air Corps during World War II and then earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Web joined the University of Utah School of Medicine in 1951, where he began his bone research career as an Anatomist/Radiobiologist and eventually received his Ph.D in 1959. Web was Director of the Radiobiology Bone Group/Laboratory and Professor of Anatomy at Utah for over forty years. He founded and then directed the Sun Valley Hard Tissue Workshop from 1970-2004.

As the 2003 recipient of the ASBMR Gideon A. Rodan Excellence in Mentorship Award, Dr. Jee was a pioneer in the field of pre-clinical bone biology and pharmacology. Web not only did numerous experiments that proved fundamental principles about bone behavior in the adult skeleton, but also trained over 200 scientists from across the world in his newly developed techniques. His research topics included the earliest morphologic demonstration of dynamic bone remodeling in the adult skeleton; early investigation of the hematogenous origin of osteoclasts; development/pre-clinical testing of the concept of rescuing low bone mass with an anabolic agent then preserving the new bone with an anti-resorptive agent, that is now used clinically; and the biokinetics and pathology of alpha-particle emitting radionuclides. Dr. Jee’s trainees went on to do pre-clinical and clinical research that contributed to the development of today’s bone therapeutic agents. Web wrote over 800 papers, scientific articles, book chapters, abstracts, reviews, and editorials. The impact of his body of work on advancing the understanding of bone biology, radiobiology, and development of bone therapeutic agents is immense.

In addition to his contributions to the bone field, Dr. Jee will be remembered as an innovator, mentor, and man of great grace, humility, and good humor, who was forever devoted to creating opportunities for young scientists.

Web Jee was a generous contributor to the University of Utah and established the “Alice Jee Memorial Young Investigator Travel Awards”.  This has supported numerous students and fellows to various scientific meetings.  This fund has been renamed at the request of the family to the “Alice and Webster S. S. Jee Memorial Fund for Young Investigators”.