GSO emeritus professor James G. Quinn honored

Celebrated by “Quinnones” with a special issue of Marine Pollution Bulletin

August 22, 2020

On June 4th, 2020, a Zoom meeting at 4:00 p.m. brought together GSO emeritus professor James G. Quinn and several of his former graduate students who conduct research in marine environmental quality. They were celebrating with Quinn the publication of a Special Issue in his honor of the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin (MPB) entitled: “Organic Chemicals and Marine Environmental Quality Research: A Tribute to James G. Quinn.”

The idea was brought a forward a year ago by Paul Boehm (M.S. ’73, Ph.D. ’77), an Associate Editor of MPB, and quickly embraced by John Farrington (Quinn’s first Ph.D. student, January 1972.). Six other “Quinnones,”* as Quinn refers to his students and they refer to each other, quickly joined the effort and contributed peer-reviewed papers with their co-authors. This did not include papers by all of Quinn’s twenty-one graduate student advisees because their research spans a broad range of organic geochemistry and lipid biochemistry of marine organisms as well as marine environmental quality. A cross section of “Quinnones” were involved in an earlier special symposium honoring Quinn at the American Chemical Society Meeting in Boston in August, 2002.

Research in the Quinn lab was at the intersection of fundamental research related to the biogeochemistry of organic chemicals of natural origin and of organic chemicals of environmental concern. Quinn’s students have pursued diverse careers including the academic sector, government research, private sector consulting companies, pharmaceutical/molecular biology companies, and science writing. In the introduction to the MPB issue, Paul D. Boehm, John W. Farrington and John S. Patton (M.S. ’72) wrote, “Jim unselfishly shared ideas, authorship, and any academic ‘glory’ thereof with his students, traits consistent with his focus on putting student’s education and research success first from the very beginning…Even after we graduated, he would politely defer to us when invitations came around to speak at meetings.”

For these and many other reasons, Quinn is highly respected by those who benefitted from his advice as graduate students.

*In case you have forgotten what you learned in Professor Quinn’s class, quinone is any member of a class of cyclic organic compounds containing two carbonyl groups (C = O), either adjacent separated by a vinylene group (―CH = CH―), in a six-membered unsaturated ring.