Michael Guinan, Anatomy and Physiology Lecturer, Dies From Melanoma

Photo: man's portrait
Michael Guinan

A memorial service will be held Sunday, July 11, for Michael Jon Guinan, an award-winning anatomy and physiology lecturer at the University of California, Davis, who died July 5 in Davis from melanoma. He was 46.

The service will be held at 10 a.m. in the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center at UC Davis.

Born in Berkeley in 1957, Michael Guinan was raised in Berkeley and Livermore. In 1976, he entered UC Davis, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in physiology in 1982 and 1985, a teaching credential in 1986 and a doctorate in physiology in 1997.

For several years, he taught veterinary neuroscience classes and coordinated accompanying labs. He also taught comparative anatomy classes in the veterinary school and began developing computer software to supplement the anatomy classes. He was the primary author of the software programs "The Virtual Heart" and "Comparative Anatomy." He also developed nine interactive programs for teaching comparative anatomy laboratories.

For many years, he taught large-enrollment undergraduate courses in anatomy, physiology and neurophysiology. On a grant from the Howard Hughes Foundation, he also developed teaching programs in physiology.

He also recruited and actively mentored senior undergraduate students to serve as discussion leaders in his human-physiology classes.

In 2000, he received the campuswide Award for Excellence in Teaching from the UC Davis Academic Federation. His students praised Guinan for his "phenomenal" command of his subject matter and his "refreshing" love of teaching.

"It was a true privilege to teach classes with Mike Guinan over the years," said Dallas Hyde, a professor and director of the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis. "His vision and genius for making lab stations computer interactive modules resulted in the Anatomy 100 course that we have today.

"During his illness, a number of us filled in as replacement teachers, but from the students' point of view we were a Band-Aid and lacked Mike's unique integrative approach between organ systems," added Hyde. "We will miss Mike for his infectious laugh and witty sense of humor, but also for the standard of excellence that he set for teaching."

In addition to his teaching, Guinan carried on an active research program focused on the cellular aspects of learning and memory, and participated in the lecturers' union on campus.

Away from campus, he was an avid outdoors enthusiast, enjoying sailing, biking, fishing and backpacking. He also found a leisure-time outlet for his computer skills, becoming an "accomplished fighter pilot online," according to his wife, Pamela Pappone, a professor in UC Davis' Division of Biological Sciences.

In addition to his wife, Guinan is survived by his father, Michael W. Guinan, of Lopez Island, Wash., and a multitude of loving family, friends and students.

The family prefers that any donations be made in Michael Guinan's memory to the UC Davis Cancer Center, Health Sciences Advancement, 4900 Broadway, Suite 1150, Sacramento, CA 95820.

Media Resources

Pat Bailey, Research news (emphasis: agricultural and nutritional sciences, and veterinary medicine), 530-219-9640, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu