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Obituary: Randall G. Chipperfield

Randall G. Chipperfield

Randall G. Chipperfield G, 26, of Calgary, Alberta, a biology graduate student here at MIT, died as a result of a fall through the ice on the Charles River Thursday night.

He had completed almost all of the requirements for his doctorate through research at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and had accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University to begin in the fall.

Chipperfield was walking across the river near the Longfellow Bridge from the Boston side when he fell through the ice. A passersby called the Metropolitan District Police (MDC) after hearing Chipperfield's calls for help.

Scuba divers from the MDC Harbor Patrol and the Cambridge Fire Department pulled him from the river, and took him to Massachusetts General Hospital. Chipperfield remained in critical condition due to severe hypothermia until he was pronounced dead several hours later.

Chipperfield graduated in 1980 from the University of Calgary, and had been a grad-[el-35l]

uate student here since September of that year. His doctoral research was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Robert A. Weinberg, initially at the MIT Cancer Research Center and later at Whitehead.

His work focused on understanding how a normal cell becomes a cancerous one, particularly a protein that caused the conversion.

Dr. Weinberg was away from MIT at the time, but ended his trip and returned to Cambridge immediately after being informed of the accident.

A statement released by Whitehead said that friends and co-workers of Chipperfield were "shocked and saddened to learn of Randy's untimely death."

"He had been doing cancer research for four and a half years," the release continued. "His research was well respected by his colleagues. He will be greatly missed."

A memorial service for Chipperfield will be held in the MIT chapel at noon on March 13.