Georgielle Gerzanich

[ Age 38 ] Research director enjoyed opera and photography

December 12, 2006|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,sun reporter

Georgielle "Lorie" Gerzanich, director of research program development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, died Dec. 5 at Maryland Shock Trauma Center of injuries from an automobile accident near Coatesville, Pa. The Homeland resident was 38.

Mrs. Gerzanich came to the University of Maryland's dental school eight years ago and two years later became a research analyst in the Obesity and Diabetes Research Center.

She was a co-author of academic publications on diabetes.

She was promoted to the director's position last year, and in recent weeks was studying for the Graduate Record Examination in hopes of pursuing a master's degree in business administration.

"Georgi was a driving force in the development of several large-scale projects in biodefense research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine," Dr. Bruce E. Jarrell, vice dean for research and academic affairs, said in a prepared statement.

"She had excellent skills in organizing diverse investigators into a cohesive group, which resulted in high-quality projects that competed successfully for large National Institutes of Health grants."

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police said Mrs. Gerzanich was injured when her car collided with another vehicle as she was driving near Coatesville on Nov. 26. She was alone in the vehicle.

Born Lorie Lee Criswell in Coatesville, east of Lancaster, she was raised on a family farm. She adopted and modified her maternal grandfather's first name but was known as Lorie to family.

She graduated with honors from Coatesville Area Senior High School in 1986 and earned a bachelor's degree in biology from West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., in 1991.

She also studied computer networking at Towson University.

Her first job after college was at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Neuroscience in Philadelphia.

She researched receptor functions, structure and involvement in myasthenia gravis, nicotine addiction and other conditions.

While there, she met her future husband, Dr. Vladimir Gerzanich, now an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

She maintained her membership from childhood in Wagontown Union Chapel, a nondenominational Protestant church in Wagontown, Pa.

"She was very diverse in everything that she did," said her mother, Joyce Criswell of Wagontown.

Her interests included classical music and opera, playing piano, photography and the outdoors. She recently began pottery classes.

She was co-founder and coordinator of the Social Action Committee for Women's Psychological Health in Philadelphia from 1996 to 1998.

A funeral service was held Friday in Wagontown.

In addition to her husband of 10 years, she is survived by her parents, Victor and Joyce Criswell of Wagontown, Pa.; a brother, Victor Criswell Jr. of Southbury, Conn.; and three sisters, Gaye Lynn Criswell of Centerville, Pa., Christi Neff of Wagontown and Brenda Tevis of Elverson, Pa.

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