John M. Venditti, 79

National Cancer Institute researcher was an expert on drug interaction

October 25, 2006

John M. Venditti, a Baltimore native and cancer research scientist who headed the drug evaluation branch of the National Cancer Institute, died of congestive heart failure Saturday at his Bethesda home. He was 79.

Raised on Northern Parkway, he attended St. Dominic's parochial school and was a 1945 graduate of Mount St. Joseph's High School. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received a doctorate in pharmacology from George Washington University's Medical Center for Biomedical Sciences.

He moved to Bethesda in 1959, where he joined the laboratory staff of the National Cancer Institute and was a member of its Acute Leukemia Task Force. An expert on drug interaction, he wrote more than 160 scientific publications and book chapters.

He retired from the cancer institute in 1987 and then worked in private industry. He retired this year from Science Applications International Corp. in Frederick, where he was senior scientist.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Jane Francis de Chantal Roman Catholic Church, 9701 Old Georgetown Pike in Bethesda, where he sang in the choir.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, the former Nancy Orth, a Goucher College graduate and former Baltimore public school teacher; a son, the Rev. J. Michael Venditti of Allentown, Pa.; two daughters, Nancy V. Gauss of Gunnison, Colo., and Mary Ruth Yao of Silver Spring; and three grandchildren.

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