In Memoriam: Lisa Adeli and Margaret E. Tome

In Memoriam: Lisa Adeli and Margaret E. Tome

By University Communications
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Lisa Adeli, director of educational outreach for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, died Dec. 22 at the age of 62.

With a passion for education, Adeli was a high school and college teacher before joining CMES in 2007. Over the past 13 years, she expanded the community's understanding of the Middle East and provided K-12 and community college educators with instructional materials and opportunities.

"I am grateful for the many years she was a part of our SBS family, sharing her talents and passion to expand understanding of the Middle East and support educators," said John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "I extend my condolences to her family, friends and colleagues."

During Adeli's battle with cancer, she continued to direct outreach for CMES, saying that the work kept her sane. She developed online activities to provide schools and the community the opportunity to learn about the Middle East during the pandemic.

"We will miss Lisa's bright presence, enthusiasm, seemingly boundless energy, and her deep kindness more than we can express," said Anne Betteridge, director of CMES. "We work closely as a group, helping one another to develop and implement project ideas, and feel keenly the absence of our dear colleague."

Adeli was hired as CMES' first full-time outreach coordinator, and then director, helping build an outreach program that addresses the needs of multiple communities of educators and learners. 

"When Lisa Adeli became CMES' new outreach coordinator in July 2007, she told us it was her dream job," Betteridge recalled. "We soon learned that she was our dream outreach coordinator. CMES' outreach has become a national model of how to conduct outreach well, creatively and with respect."

Much of Adeli's job at CMES involved developing programs and curricular materials for K-12 teachers and community college educators. She created and shared professional development opportunities, including workshops, conferences, summer institutes, lesson plan awards and programs for teachers in rural areas.

Most recently, she and Emma Harver, her counterpart at the University of North Carolina's Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, created the Teachers Collaborating Across Borders virtual exchange program, in which 15 teachers in the U.S. and 15 in the Middle East discuss teaching issues and collaborate to involve their students in classroom projects.   

"I am humbled by the opportunity to continue this program as part of Lisa's legacy," Harver wrote. "Lisa changed the lives of souls of all ages with her generous spirit – teaching others about the world, expanding perspectives and making connections."

Adeli received her bachelor's in foreign service from Georgetown University and a master's degrees in applied linguistics and history, both from Indiana University.

After teaching at UA South and at Cochise College, Adeli earned a secondary teaching certification and taught world history and English full time at Buena High School in Sierra Vista for 12 years.

Adeli also worked on her doctorate in history at the University of Arizona over many years, progressing steadily while working full time and raising three sons. She completed her doctorate in 2004.

Read more on the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences website.


Assistant Professor Emerita Margaret E. Tome, a cancer researcher who began her career as a technician, pursued and completed a doctorate and then joined the faculty, died on Jan.1 at the age of 65.

Tome started at the University of Arizona Cancer Center in 1985, working with Eugene "Gene" Gerner, one of the founding members of the Cancer Center. After several years as a technician, Tome entered the doctoral program in biochemistry and conducted her doctoral research under Gerner.

After obtaining her doctorate in 1996, Tome conducted research under Margaret Briehl, professor of pathology, and continued until 2014. After four years in the Department of Pharmacology, Tome retired but then returned to conduct research on lymphoma.

"Dr. Tome was a dedicated scientist and mentor to undergraduate and graduate students with whom she conducted research," said Briehl. "She was proud of and loved the opportunities that she had to mentor students. Dr. Tome was generous with her knowledge and time, always willing to share her research expertise with others."

Tome made seminal contributions to the understanding of redox biology in cancer. She was one of the first to discover that sensitivity to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis could be modulated by changing expression levels of antioxidant enzymes. She collaborated with physician scientists to show that the results of lab-based research were relevant to the treatment of lymphoma. Later, Tome conducted studies on the blood-brain barrier after injury and exposure to medications.

Over her career, Tome published more than 60 research articles, review articles and book chapters. She was especially active in the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine.

Tome, who was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on March 27, 1955, earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Cornell University in 1977. She went on to earn a master's degree in zoology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1994.

"Dr. Tome had a wonderful sense of humor, loved running and swimming, traveling with her husband, getting together with friends for meals and theater, and enjoyed making jewelry, pottery and fabric arts," Briehl said. "Her passing has left her friends, family and scientific colleagues with a heavy heart. She is deeply missed."

Those who wish to do so are invited to make a donation to the Cancer Biology Doctoral Scholarship in Tome's memory.

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