Stanley, Director of Basic Facilities at the College of Medicine, retires after 35 years
HERSHEY, Pa .– From running a daycare center to making guitars to championship volleyball, Bruce stanley did just about everything.
But these are his contributions as director of Basic Facilities Research Resources and director and founder of the nucleus of proteomics and mass spectrometry at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine for which he will be missed when he retires on January 31, 2022.
Mass spectrometry is the highly accurate measurement of the masses (weight) of biological molecules of interest, which can be used to better understand both normal biology and pathobiology of diseases.
Being a science researcher wasn’t always Stanley’s plan. After graduating from Tufts University with an undergraduate degree in psychology, Stanley was the director of an early childhood day care center. It was when he saw correlations between what children ate and behavior problems that Stanley first became interested in nutrition. From there he worked as a luthier, apple picker and carpenter, before returning to graduate school at Cornell and earning his masters and doctorate degrees in nutritional biochemistry.
After a year of working in a laboratory in France, where Stanley met his wife, he was offered a postdoctoral fellowship and then a professorship at the College of Medicine. In 1998, the college asked him to develop a mass spectrometry facility and subsequently asked him to be the director of the entire core facility program. Under Stanley’s leadership, the institution’s core research resources have grown significantly. Today, they support more than 240 researchers and partners and 216 grants.
âDr. Bruce Stanley has been an excellent ambassador for the basic facilities of the College of Medicine,â said Dr Leslie Parent, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Medicine. âHe has helped us recruit many outstanding scientists who are impressed with the quality of our advanced equipment and the expertise of our core staff. “
With research technologies advancing so rapidly – according to Stanley, some are only three to five years of “cutting edge” utility – much of Stanley’s effort has been in ensuring that the college replenishes its research facilities from base with the most innovative and advanced technology, while seeking grants to reduce costs for researchers.
âBruce is always very enthusiastic about identifying the best technology that can be used to improve the services provided by the core facilities and has been a great advocate for cores with the institution,â said Todd schell, Faculty Director of the Flow Cytometry Core Facility. âHe was able to effectively convey the importance of these technologies in plain language so that users and those who controlled the finances would understand why we, as an institution, should pursue them. “
Stanley and his team brought new world-class systems such as cryogenic electron microscopy, advanced cell sorting, and high-end proteomics to the College of Medicine.
âHe has been the scientific heart of our main facilities, and we are extremely grateful for his services,â said Parent.
Lead with benevolence
Stanley, who has a proven track record in promoting institutional support for further research development, is also known for his particularly benevolent approach.
âBruce has always been very positive and respectful in his responses to faculty, staff and students and was able to defuse a tense situation with kind words and an offer to help resolve issues,â said Schell. “I think his willingness to help others find answers to questions about available technologies and how to answer scientific questions using basic facilities has made Bruce a valuable asset to all researchers at the College. of Medicine.”
Patricia “Sue” Grigson, professor and chair of the Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Penn State Addiction Center for Translation, said Stanley has the ability to meet the challenges of multiple roles such as a scientist, leader, marketer and negotiator. However, she said, “it was probably his high standard of excellence and genuine kindness that allowed the base facilities to thrive under his leadership.”
Projects for the future
While he might not be working full time when he retires, Stanley will certainly be busy.
âMy wife has a really long list of things to do for me,â Stanley noted. He also plans to increase his participation in mountain biking, hiking and pickle balling, and to resume playing a guitar he built over 40 years ago.
But he will not fail to take the time to practice volleyball. He gets by while playing with the medical students of the college and even participates in several masters and senior level tournaments, both nationally and internationally. He and his teammates – the reigning senior National Games champions – defend their title in May 2022.