In Memory of Professor Lynwood G. Clemens

Professor Lynwood G. Clemens

2 December 1937 - 20 March 2016

Colleagues, staff and students in the Department of Integrative Biology, the Neuroscience Program, Integrative Studies in Biology and across MSU and around the world are saddened by the death of Lyn Clemens, following a long, quiet struggle with cancer.  

Lyn earned a B.S. from Penn State in 1960 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California Berkley in 1966, working with Dr. Frank Beach. After completing his postdoctoral fellowship at University of California Los Angeles with Dr. Roger Gorski, he joined the faculty in the Department of Zoology (now Integrative Biology), Michigan State University in 1968, and later also affiliated with the Neuroscience Program at MSU.

In his letter of recommendation to Jack King, Chair of MSU Zoology in 1967, Robert Goy, at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, said of Lyn: “He is active, energetic, bright, logical and all the rest of it. Younger people and students flock to him and greatly enjoy the experience of working with him. I believe … he will be highly productive.” Goy was not exaggerating. 

In 2009, Lyn received the Daniel S. Lehrman Lifetime Achievement Award in Behavioral Endocrinology from the Society of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. The announcement  includes the assessment that “As a scientist, mentor, and advocate, Lynwood Clemens has had a profound impact on the field of hormones and behavior.” Lyn was a leading figure in the development of the field of behavioral endocrinology. He helped shape the field with his research and by organizing a conference that would become the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology annual meeting. His impact extends to the mentoring and training of many of the current leaders in the academy, industry, and private sector. The long-term objective of his research program was to determine how the brain regulates sex differences in behavior, specifically examining neuroendocrine and neurotoxic effects on rodent behavior.

In addition to a successful research career, Lyn placed a great deal of importance on undergraduate teaching. After becoming interested in education research and teaching pedagogy, he implemented a flipped-classroom, team-based teaching method into his neurobiology course well before this approach became widely accepted. Even as he approached retirement, Lyn continued working on a publication for in-class team exercises in neurobiology.