Tribute to Honoree Fleming: Scientist, Educator, Secular Saint

Dr. Honoree Fleming

Via The Boston Globe

‘She never let life defeat her’: Retired academic dean slain on Vt. trail remembered by family

Honoree Fleming, a 77-year-old retired scientist and academic, was shot to death while walking on a rail trail in sleepy Castleton, Vt.

On the afternoon of Oct. 5, her 37th wedding anniversary, 77-year-old Fleming was on a popular walking rail trail above a sprawling meadow in this tiny college town of Castleton, Vermont where she had retired as an academic dean. She was just a couple of miles from her home when someone ambushed her and shot her in the head.

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Honoree’s service took place at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 22 at the Fine Arts Center on the Castleton campus.

A staunch citizen of Castleton, Mark Brown, owner of Brown’s Auto Salvage, has created a GoFundMe account for information leading to the arrest of Honoree’s killer: Fundraiser by Mark Brown : Honoree Fleming reward fund (”

Thank you all again.

Ron, and Dean

Honoree is fondly remembered for her intelligence and her boundless empathy, traits that defined her life and work.

Honoree Fleming and Ron Powers

In her recent article, she made an interesting discovery in the world of cell biology, identifying a new cellular structure called “mitonucleons.” These mitonucleons are made up of mitochondria (the energy producers in cells) and chromatin (the genetic material). They appear to be essential in the development of unique structures known as “spheroids.”

Dr. Honoree Fleming’s research, conducted on human endometrial cells, has shown that mitonucleons are formed during a process where cells become specialized for specific tasks. These mitonucleons can merge together to create spheroids, which have a role in the development of gland-like structures in the uterus.

These spheroids can even float freely and reattach to other cells, and they seem to be able to travel between cells, acting a bit like “cellular Trojan horses.” This is particularly interesting in the context of cancer research, as cells that form these spheroids appear to be more aggressive in tumors.

It’s important to note that while this research is intriguing, there’s still some debate and further investigation needed to fully understand its implications. Nevertheless, it opens up new avenues of study that could have important applications in understanding cell biology and diseases, especially cancer.

Fleming faced challenges during her teaching career, including being denied tenure at Middlebury College despite her significant contributions as an educator and researcher.

Dr. Fleming encountered sexism throughout her career as a woman in the field of science. She was a pioneering “lady scientist” in a world that still struggles to fully recognize the achievements of women in science. The media frequently identified her as “the wife of Pulitzer prizewinner Ron Powers” in headlines and captions since her passing.

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