Judith Elaine Domer, Ph.D.



Dr. Kay R. Dickson, “Judith Elaine Domer, Ph.D.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed June 19, 2024, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/47987.

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Judith Elaine Domer, Ph.D.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Kay R. Dickson




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage


Temporal Coverage



Dean Emerita, Graduate Studies
and Research

Biographical Text

Dean Emerita, Graduate Studies and Research Judith Elaine Domer was born on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, in Millersville, Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Peters Kofroth and Richard Harvey Kofroth. After graduating from high school, Dorothy was a bookkeeper most of her working years, operating one of the first computers designed to facilitate bookkeeping. Judith's father, Richard, did not graduate from high school, but educated himself in oil burner sales and service and owned a business in that field for a number of years before becoming a plant manager for the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Country Day School. In 1965, Judith married Floyd Domer, a distinguished scientist and educator, who has a doctorate in pharmacology and who was on the faculty at Tulane Medical School from the early 1960s through 1997, when he retired and moved to Boone with his wife. He was an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at Appalachian State University until 2004, when both he and Professor Judith Domer retired. Judith Domer graduated from Penn Manor High School in Millersville and then entered Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee, as a first-generation college student. At the college, she was a member of Alpha Chi National Scholastic Honorary Society and a Charles Oliver Gray Scholar. She graduated magna cum laude in 1961. While at Tusculum, Domer was recruited to Tulane Medical School by a woman scientist who was the principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health Training grant, designed to educate students in the field of medical mycology, the study of fungi that are of medical importance. Domer's dissertation was awarded the Sigma Xi Award for the best Ph. D. dissertation at Tulane University in 1966. The woman who recruited Domer to Tulane, Lorraine Friedman, became a lifelong friend and mentor and was one of the seminal factors in what successes Professor Domer achieved. Following graduation from Tulane, Domer was employed by Dominican College for one year as a part-time instructor in biology, while she was a part-time postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at Tulane Medical School. Teaching full-time the next year at Dominican College, she also wrote and submitted a grant to the National Institutes of Health for the study of a pathogenic fungus, and, when the grant was awarded (1968), she returned to Tulane Medical School as a research associate in the Department of Micro-biology and Immunology. She remained at Tulane Medical School until 1997, moving through the professorial ranks to full professor and also serving in two consecutive administrative positions: as associate dean of the graduate school and then as acting vice chancellor for graduate studies at the Medical Center. During her tenure at Tulane, Professor Domer was heavily involved in research, most of it funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was also the co-director and then director of the training grant under which she had been a student. In addition to the research, she mentored post-doctoal fellows and graduate students who did research in her laboratory and taught both medical and graduate students in the areas of medical mycology and immunology. In 1996, she was awarded the Virginia Furrow Medical Education Award at Tulane Medical School for her teaching activities. Although her initial work was with Histoplasma capsulatum, a fungus that lives in the soil, is inhaled, and initiates disease in the lungs, much of her later research involved Candida albicans, a fungus that is part of the normal flora of humans, but one which can cause significant disease in individuals who have certain predisposing factors. Professor Domer's research over the years resulted in sixty-eight publications, consisting of refereed articles in journals such as the Journal of Bacteriology, (the journal) Infection and Immunity, the Canadian Journal of Microbiology and Biochimica Biophysica Acta; invited review articles in various books; and invited publications in proceedings from scientific conferences. Her last scientific publication (2003) was as a co-editor of a book entitled Human Fungal Pathogens. Her co-editor was a long-time colleague and friend, George Kobayashi. The heavy involvement in research led to her appointment to various study sections at NIH and at the Veterans Administration and to being a reviewer for Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellowships. In recognition of her research activities and her involvement in fostering the field of medical mycology in general, she was awarded, in 2002, the Rhoda Benham Award by the Medical Mycological Society of the Americas. Professor Domer's involvement with research provided opportunities for travel abroad. International travel is a passion for both Domers, and they were fortunate to be able to spend two sabbatical years in London, England, doing research with renowned scientists. Judith Domer was supported by the Wellcome Trust during one year and an NIFI Fogarty International Fellowship during the other. In addition, the couple was able to spend a year involved in research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. During her career, Judith Domer has been afforded the opportunity to travel to meetings all over the world to deliver presentations: Tokyo and Sendai (Japan), Crete (Greece), Paris (France), Adelaide (Australia), York and Cambridge (England), Edinburgh (Scotland), Barcelona (Spain), Taormina and Rome (Italy). Judith Domer has always had a strong sense of the importance of service to the profession, as well as doing research and teaching, and she has served a number of scientific societies in multiple capacities. She has been the president of the Medical Mycological Society of the Americas, has served on the editorial boards of several journals, notably Infection and Immunity and Clinical Microbiology Reviews, and was the chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee for the American Society for Microbiology. Because of all her volunteer activities with the American Society for Microbiology, she was awarded the Founders Distinguished Service Award by that organization in 2001. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Domer decided that her administrative skills and background in graduate education could be put to use outside of the laboratory and medical environment, and she was most fortunate in being able to pursue that avenue as the dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Appalachian State University from 1997 to 2004. During that time, she oversaw the expansion and move of the office from B. B. Dougherty to the John Thomas Building, was able to secure a modest increase in the number and level of graduate stipends, saw an increase in the number of out-of-state tuition waivers awarded through the University of North Carolina system office, and saw an increase in research funding in the university to a (then) high of $12 million in 2003. The annual Research Day at which undergraduate and graduate students showcase their research was also begun during her tenure. Dr. Domer was granted emerita status by the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees on June 15, 2007. Sources: Appalachian State University files and personal correspondence. -Kay R. Dickson

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