Tribute written by Patricia Cuasnicu, PhD
We are sad to announce that John Michael Bedford has passed away Saturday, February 24, 2018, in Philadelphia.
For more than 50 years, Mike has made truly outstanding contributions to different areas of reproduction such as epididymal maturation, sperm storage in the cauda epididymidis, sperm capacitation within the female tract, mechanisms and strategies of gamete interaction, and the way the gametes have co-evolved. He was one of the few investigators that has always compared and analyzed his observations in numerous species and not only in the well known and more familiar eutherian mammals, providing novel and interesting ideas about the changes in gamete design and fertilization strategies through evolution and a base from which to think more broadly about the relationship of spermatozoa to the function of the epididymis and capacitation.
Mike continued contributing to the field until the very last minute of his life writing interesting papers on aspects of reproduction not usually addressed by others, which he always discussed from a different, broad, and original perspective. Because of this, he had a profound influence on those that have worked with him.
Ryuzo Yanagimachi, his close colleague and friend for almost 60 years said, “He has not only made numerous ground-breaking discoveries, but also reminded young researchers of the essence of a research subject and how to look at generally accepted ‘facts’ from different points of view. Mike always reminded young fellows how important it is to pursue research based on basic biological concepts. He has been an irreplaceable ‘navigator’ of mammalian gamete research during the past 50 years.”
“Mike pointed out the danger of accepting dogmas without any doubts,” said Terry Turner. “He was the type of scientist we could all emulate, one who pushed at the boundaries of knowledge and looked closely at the knowledge we thought we already had and resisted the idea that much of it was knowledge at all. He queried our received wisdom with an unrelenting curiosity and opened the field to new questioning by many who knew him or read his works.”
Some of us had the enormous privilege of having him as a mentor and those who have not will surely find a source of inspiration in his work.