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Remembering Theresa

Our beloved Theresa passed away on January 4, 2014. To honour her memory and her selfless, generous spirit, we welcome family, friends and colleagues from around the wor[...] read more

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In Loving Memory

Theresa Lee Gioannini, PhD, 64 years old (1 million, base 2) of Coralville, IA died January 4, 2014 after a valiant 2½ year battle with multiple myeloma. She died at home in the company of her husband (Jerry Weiss), sons (Gregory and Douglas Weiss), daughter-in-law (Cara Weiss) and granddaughter (Ella Weiss). 

In health, Theresa was the moral compass and biological engine of her family; a teacher and mentor extraordinaire; a friend of uncommonly selfless and generous qualities; and a scientist whose creativity and rigor made possible several seminal contributions concerning opiate and MD-2/TLR4 receptors.

In illness, Theresa was a model of stoic optimism and faith, never letting her medical challenges – however difficult – alter her focus on the well-being of her family and friends first, herself later.

Theresa was a remarkable combination of personal modesty and professional ambition and accomplishment. She succeeded on a path completely new and foreign to her family and surroundings: moving from her birthplace and family home in Galesburg, IL to college at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (Terre Haute, IN) followed by graduate school at New York University (New York, NY) where she earned a PhD in Chemistry. Her work on opiate receptors was done at NYU School of Medicine whereas her later work on MD-2/TLR4 and Gram-negative bacterial endotoxins was carried out as part of the Inflammation Program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Between these two activities, Theresa was Professor at the City University of New York at Baruch College, a culturally diverse liberal arts college, where she developed there for the first time an undergraduate Biochemistry syllabus and course that she taught.  

Theresa was the ultimate teammate and partner: her partnership with her husband was inseverable and her proudest creative activity was nurturing their two sons.

Theresa was devoutly committed to her Catholic faith, generously supporting with her husband the Newman Center at the University of Iowa along with many other public and charitable causes.

To help celebrate Theresa’s life, her faith, and her many friends and family members, a memorial mass/celebration for Theresa will be held at noon on Saturday, January 25th at the Newman Center, preceded by two hours of visitation and followed by an informal lunch. Those desiring to further honor Theresa’s life and work are encouraged to donate to a research fellowship for women in science that is being established in memory of Theresa. Please go to for more information and to donate.

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