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Hatten Yoder III, a man afflicted with schizophrenia, was struck by a car, at age 38, and didn’t survive. The disease had troubled him almost his entire life and indeed may have contributed to his unfortunate accident. Seeking both solace and a meaningful way to honor their son, his parents, Hatten Yoder Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth, turned to science. And in that, something positive has resulted.
An unusually bright, decisive man, the senior Yoder had received a Ph.D. in geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then rose through the ranks of the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory, guiding a field then not much given to experimentation. He designed studies to understand the nature and origin of rocks and minerals, subjecting them to high temperatures and pressures. He was the youngest earth scientist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The mineral yoderite bears his name.
Using their knowledge of scientific funding and the need for it, the Yoders created The Hatten S. Yoder III Memorial Fellowship to support strong research into schizophrenia and related disorders.
“The fellowship my parents set up was really important to them,” says daughter Karen Wallace, who lives with her husband and daughter in Gaithersburg, Md. With both of her parents no longer living, it’s fallen to Wallace to carry out the spirit of their considerable bequest, a three-year, renewable fellowship for promising, independent research. The first recipient is psychiatrist and neuro-researcher Sarah Reading (front page)—her innovative use of imaging to explore flaws in nerve communication in schizophrenia and other psychiatric brain disease is truly exciting, colleagues say. “I’ve met Reading,” says Wallace. “I think my parents would have been proud.”