Video In Memory of Wylie Vale as Wylie Walker Vale, Jr. passed away unexpectedly in his sleep in Hana on the island of Maui in Hawaii, where he and his wife Betty, who was there by his side, enjoyed many delightful times. Wylie and Betty were both born in Houston, Texas, where they first met in high school. Wylie attended Rice University, followed by Baylor College of Medicine, earning his Ph.D. in physiology and biochemistry in 1969. In June 1970, a few short months after they married, Wylie and Betty began an exciting new chapter of their lives when they moved to La Jolla, California where Wylie began working at the Salk Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Roger Guillemin, whom he followed from Baylor and who later became a Nobel Laureate. Wylie continued his work as a research biologist at the Institute for the remaining 41 years of his life. Wylie and Betty enjoyed a wonderful, rich, fun-filled life together in La Jolla with their two lovely daughters, Elizabeth and Susannah, whom Wylie loved and adored with all his heart. More recent chapters of his family life included the happy occasions of his daughters' marriages and the birth of his first grandchild, with whom he was able to share precious moments.
During his distinguished scientific career, Wylie discovered a number of hormones and growth factors that provide a molecular link between the brain and the endocrine and immune systems. These hormones are now recognized as key regulators of the stress response and as modulators of appetite, metabolism, growth, reproduction and cardiac function. Wylie's research has helped identify new avenues for the diagnosis and treatment of endocrine as well as behavioral disorders, including anxiety, depression and anorexia. Building on this seminal research, which was conducted at the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, Salk Institute, Wylie co-founded two biotech companies, Neurocrine Biosciences, a publicly-traded company in San Diego, CA, and Acceleron Pharma in Cambridge, MA; he was a member of the Board of Directors for both companies.
Wylie's accomplishments have been widely recognized by the scientific community. He was elected as a member of several prestigious organizations including the National Academy of Sciences (USA), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. He served as a past president of the Endocrine Society as well as of the International Society of Endocrinology. Wylie also received a number of awards, including the Edwin B. Astwood Lectureship Award and the Fred Conrad Koch Award from the Endocrine Society, the Clinical Lectureship Award (British Royal Soc. Med.), the 4th Yrjo Reenpaa Lecture Award from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the H.B. van Dyke Award, Foundation IPSEN Prize in Endocrine Communication, the Henry Dale Medal presented by the British Society for Endocrinology and the Rolf Luft Award from the Karolinska Institute. In addition, Wylie received Distinguished Alumnus Awards from RIce University in 2000 and from St. John's School in 1995. Baylor College of Medicine recently informed him that he will receive a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in April 2012.
From 1980 to the present, Wylie was a Professor and Head of the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and, as of 2003, the Helen McLoraine Professor in Molecular Neurobiology. He was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of California at San Diego. During his tenure at the Salk Institute, he served as Chair of the Academic Council and as a member of the Board of Trustees. As a visionary and world-renowned expert in endocrinology and basic sciences, Wylie served on a number of advisory and program committees for key institutions including the Endocrinology Research Program of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease at the National Institutes of Health, the Laurentian Hormone Conference, Searle Scholars Program, Society for Neuroscience, Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine Contraceptive Research and Development. In addition to his activities outside the Salk Institute, Wylie trained and mentored many young scientists during his career; he leaves behind a tremendous legacy.