Dr. Gina E. Sosinsky, a highly regarded scientist and University of California, San Diego professor who performed seminal work in the molecular structure of gap junctions and other cell-cell junctions, died yesterday from complications related to a bone marrow transplant. She was 60.
Sosinsky received her Ph. D. in 1983 in Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley and did her post-doctoral research in structural biology with Don Caspar and David DeRosier at the Rosenstiel Center, Brandeis University. It was with Caspar and a collaboration with Dan Goodenough at Harvard Medical School that Sosinsky began her life-long research on gap junction structure and function.
Sosinsky joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, in 1995 with appointments in Neurosciences and the Center for Research in Biological Systems. Her enduring passion was microscopy, and she used and also helped to develop a variety of sophisticated multi-resolution imaging approaches to probe the trafficking, assembly and structure of gap junctions and a family of related proteins, the pannexins.
Sosinsky served as the Assistant Director of the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) at UC San Diego, a technology development center dedicated to advancing multi-resolution microscopies. She shared her love of microscopic imaging through generous contributions to training on a local and national scale, by mentoring of many UC San Diego graduate and post-doctoral researchers and through her highly regarded courses in light and electron microscopy. She also served on the Steering Committee of the Interfaces Program, a cross-department, interdisciplinary graduate training program that provides practical lab experiences to graduate students at the interfaces between the biological, health, physical and engineering sciences.
Sosinsky was active in the Microscopy Society of America (MSA), serving on its Council as Biological Director from 2010-2012. For her service and contributions to microscopy, she was awarded the MSA Morton D. Maser award in 2012. A passionate advocate and supporter for women in science and engineering, Gina served as Co-Chair of the Women in Science and Engineering Committee at UC San Diego from 1996-2003.
With characteristic bravery and determination, Sosinsky fought and beat ovarian cancer several times over the last decade but, in the end, she wasn’t able to overcome complications resulting from a bone marrow transplant. She is survived by her husband, Dr. John Badger, and her three sons: Ethan, Graham and Sam.
Soskinsky believed that science should be fun, collaborative and supportive. That so many of her colleagues became her lifelong friends is a testament to her generous and positive approach to her life and career. Donations in Gina’s memory can be made to the Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego, in support of cancer prevention.