SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
14 July 2016
Volume 17 Issue 7

Return to the Globe

In Memoriam: Stephen J. Klaine

Charles Rice, Clemson University; G. Allen Burton Jr, University of Michigan; Richard J. Wenning, Ramboll Environ; Herb Ward, Rice University; Teresa F. Fernandes, Heriot-Watt University; Jamie Lead, University of South Carolina; Aaron Roberts, University of North Texas; and Eric van Genderen, International Zinc Association

Scientist, Mentor and Distinguished SETAC Fellow

Steve Klaine spent more than 30 years conducting environmental research and educating graduate students. He has graduated 40 doctoral and 45 master’s students from his laboratory. He usually had more students at SETAC than any other professor, which meant more presentations than from any other university! Steve was all about his students and their research.

Steve KlaineEvery SETAC meeting had an evening for the Klaine tribe—his current and past graduate students and a host of colleagues from around the globe. As a doctoral student with Herb Ward at Rice University he had the prestigious duty of being the first official photographer for the first SETAC meeting held in Washington, D.C. He served on the SETAC Board of Directors and was an editor for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) since 1995. He was also on the editorial board of the journal, Nanotoxicology. The review paper he led on nanomaterials in the environment has the distinction of being the most highly cited paper of ET&C in the journal’s 35 years of publication! From 1995 to 2000, he was the only U.S. participant on a multinational International Atomic Energy Agency Cooperative Research Program on Pesticides in Coastal Tropical Ecosystems. He served on several U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) science advisory panels and workshops dealing with pesticide and metal fate, effects and risk assessment, and he also chaired the USEPA Science Advisory Panel for The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). He was a Sigma Xi National Lecturer, won the Clemson University Sigma Xi Researcher of the Year Award, and the Clemson Alumni Award for Outstanding Research. He was the SETAC Menzie Environmental Education Award winner for 2013 and one of the first groups of inductees into the SETAC Fellows Program. Steve’s research program was impressive, with more than $10 million in extramural funding and over 120 peer-reviewed publications. Steve was also committed to international student outreach—teaching in Cuba, Jamaica, Canada, Portugal, Vietnam, Africa and Australia. His efforts at capacity building over the last 15 years in Vietnam resulted in the first collaborative master’s program in environmental toxicology between Hanoi University of Science and Clemson University.

Few individuals have had a more positive worldwide impact on environmental science, teaching and mentoring of students. Steve Klaine has touched the lives of so many in a positive way. We will miss him but never forget him.

A Personal Reflection—Charles Rice, Clemson University

I heard Steve’s voice long before I met him. It was at the SETAC annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, in the early 1990s, and as always, he was surrounded by lots of people, hands in the air, a huge smile and a booming laugh! People have always loved Steve. I interviewed at Clemson and knew right away we would be friends for life. Our friendship was based on a solid foundation of fondness for liquid yeast by-products, good food, intense sarcasm, laughter and intellectual debate. For most of the early years, Steve and I agreed on very little when it came to environmental toxicology and how our research interests meshed, but it was never personal. Most of our debates ended in laughter, followed by sampling of cold yeast by-products, which drove conversations to more important issues of family, kids, politics, religion and more conversation about kids. Steve’s love and pride for his son Christopher and daughter Jennifer could not be measured. The same can be said of the love and pride he had for his many graduate students, which are too numerous to address in this venue. Steve was devoted to his wife Cindy, and together they traveled to the far reaches of our planet. Steve was a “Leo the Lion,” and his presence and voice at Clemson University seemed to quell the pervasive ebb and flow of academia in turmoil. I readily admit that Steve was the backbone of environmental toxicology at Clemson University, and as a graduate program, we are unsure where to go without his guidance. On a personal note, I find the silence following the loss of Steve deafening.

Authors’ contact information: and

Return to the Globe

Contact SETAC Globe
Contact the SETAC Europe office
Contact the SETAC Europe office