Noted Yale University Physioloist Ethan Nadel Dies at Age 57
Noted Yale University physiologist Ethan R. Nadel, who was the director of the Yale-affiliated John B. Pierce Laboratory, died Dec. 26 of cancer at his home in Guilford, Conn. He was professor of epidemiology and public health and of cellular and molecular physiology at the Yale University School of Medicine.
Professor Nadel, 57, was an authority in the area of human thermoregulation during exercise and heat exposure. He spent much of his research career studying the mechanisms by which people attain physical fitness through exercise training and become acclimatized to heat exposure. He was particularly interested in the factors that govern the regulation of blood volume and their effects on physical performance and heat tolerance.
He became involved as a consultant in the M.I.T. Daedalus Project in 1986, which took human-powered flight to a new level with a successful non-stop flight in 1988 between the Aegean islands of Crete and Santorini. He also had an interest in the problems of physical fitness and aging, and for many years ran a study in conjunction with Heritage Retirement Village in Connecticut, studying patterns of exercise and fitness among the elderly residents.
During his tenure as director of the Pierce Laboratory from 1989 to 1998, Professor Nadel planned and oversaw an expansion and major renovation of the laboratory’s facilities, and was instrumental in the growth of the research staff to a level of 25 scientists and postdoctoral students. He also strengthened the relationship between the laboratory and Yale Medical School, paving the way for many medical and graduate students to complete significant portions of their training using Pierce facilities and expertise.
A native of the Washington, D.C., area, Professor Nadel received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a Ph.D. degree in environmental physiology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He then undertook post-doctoral studies at the Pierce Laboratory and subsequently was appointed assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine in 1970.
He was a member of the American Physiological Society, a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, and a member of both the Sigma Xi Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He chaired the program committee of the American Physiological Society and served on the APS Council for the past three years. He served also on the board of trustees of the American College of Sports Medicine 1982-85, and was a scientific consultant to the Gatorade Division of the Quaker Oats Co. Professor Nadel was an author of more 140 scientific papers and edited three monographs on exercise and thermoregulation.
Among his numerous awards and recognitions, Professor Nadel was a Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, a national lecturer for the Sigma Xi Society, the Harry G. Armstrong Lecturer for the Aerospace Medical Association in 1991, and was to be the Edward F. Adolph Distinguished Lecturer of the American Physiological Society at its April meeting in 1999. He was to receive a Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine at its annual meeting in June 1999.
Professor Nadel was actively involved in local affairs in his home town of Guilford, where he resided for the past 24 years, and had served on the Guilford Conservation Commission. He was the husband of Emilia Bergamasco and a son of Ruth G. Nadel of Washington, D.C., and the late Aaron B. Nadel. He is also survived by his two daughters, Dana Foley of New York City and Maya Bergamasco of Guilford; as well as his brothers, John B. and Roger S., both of Los Angeles, and Gordon L. of Jasper, Ore.