Patty was always a highly motivated student. She graduated summa cum laude in Biology from Rutgers University-Camden in 1984. Patty was introduced to research after college by a beloved mentor, Dr. George Brainard at Jefferson Medical College, and it would become her life’s work. Patty’s interest in immunology led her to graduate school where she earned a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1991, and then to a postdoctoral fellowship in Autoimmune Disease at Merck from 1991-1997.
Patty began working at GlaxoSmithKline in 1997 as an investigator, was quickly promoted to senior investigator and then to group manager of the Respiratory and Inflammation Center of Excellence for Drug Discovery.
While there, Patty oversaw many major research efforts and received numerous awards for her innovative research which resulted in the development of preclinical models and potential therapeutics for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Patty was devoted to her extended family, especially her nieces, nephews, and grandnieces. She entertained them by recounting the lesser known but more colorful stories of the family’s past, much to the younger generation’s delight. Patty was also known for her sound judgment and keen insight when it came to helping others through life’s sticky wickets. Patty helped many of us navigate the challenges of adolescence, relationships, and career path decisions. If we were beating ourselves up over something, Patty could put things into perspective and often showed us it was not our fault after all. Patty was a wonderful and generous daughter, sister, aunt, great aunt, and cousin.
Patty will be remembered for her whole-hearted engagement of life. When Patty laughed, the commitment was 100 percent: a whiplash-like backward throw of the head, a seizing of the body, and a wide-open mouth. Often no sound was actually emitted. What typically triggered such a laugh was poking fun at our parents, especially our dad, who loved it. Patty loved to dance. Her dancing would shake the house, and when she would emerge from her room, she would be out of breath and covered in sweat. She was also a life-long animal lover; animals under Patty’s care tended to live for decades.
She leaves behind her parents, Michael and Ruth Podolin of Medford, her brother Rick (Sue) Podolin of Aiken S.C., her sister Deb (Phil) Whiting of Haddonfield, nephews Andrew (Temidayo) Williams of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Will Whiting of Haddonfield, nieces Emma Podolin (Josh Gould) of Walden, Vt,, Becca and Sarah Whiting of Haddonfield, and grandnieces Scarlett and Ruthie Podolin of Walden, Vt.
Patty will be buried in the Friends Cemetery in Haddonfield. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.
Donations in Patty’s honor can be made to Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Rd., PO Box 567, Kanab, UT 84741-0567 or https://bestfriends.org/.