Robert P. Wersto (Bob), 68, of Olney, MD passed away suddenly on November 16, 2022. He was a research scientist who held a Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics. His interest in science began at any early age when he attended John W. Garvy Elementary School in Chicago, IL and grew exponentially while attending Niles Notre Dame High School in Niles, IL and Valparaiso University in Valparaiso IN. While a graduate student at Loyola Medical School in Maywood, IL, Bob characterized the cell membranes of normal and malignant brain tissue in hopes of better understanding how cells became differentiated and what stimulated cells to transform from normal growth to malignant growth. Bob held academic positions at U. of Rochester and Montefiore Hospital/Einstein School of Medicine prior to moving to Maryland to take a position at Molecular Oncology, Inc. in Gaithersburg. He held an appointment as a fellow of the National Academy of Science which provided him with an opportunity to continue his research interests at the National Institutes of Health where he had positions at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute (NHLBI), and lastly at the National Institute of Aging (NIA) from which he retired 5 years ago as the Director of the Core Flow Cytometry Lab. Bob’s Catholic education and upbringing gave him a firm foundation in knowing the difference between right and wrong. It also gave him the conviction not to be deterred from calling out colleagues and peers who committed research fraud.
Bob also loved to build things and often designed and fabricated devices for his lab and his home. He became interested in woodworking, was an avid reader of Fine Homebuilding and Fine Woodworking, and found many small projects around the house to keep him occupied. Bob was also an ardent animal lover who devoted 40 years to caring for and providing homes for rescued bunnies whom he had adopted over the years. As a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Bob was an active participant in the St. Martin’s Pantry food collection for 10 years.
Bob was a loving husband to Nancy (Gaynes) and a devoted brother to Thomas. He is preceded in death by his parents Peter and Anne Wersto and his aunt and uncle, Anthony and Maxine Wersto.
A Mass will be held for Bob at 11AM on Thursday, 1 December 2022 at St Patrick's Catholic Church, 4101 Norbeck Road, Rockville, Maryland, 20853. Interment will be private at All Souls Cemetery, Germantown, Maryland.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the House Rabbit Society (MD,DC and NoVA) at http://www.rabbitsinthehouse.org.
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