In Memory: Dr. Scott Mackler

chris crisman dr scott mackler portrait

We have the unique privilege of meeting and making photos with people from all walks of life. From celebrities to athletes, business leaders to academics, scientists to veterans – the list goes on. There is hardly a week that goes by when we do not put one of these subjects in front of our lens to take photos that will serve as a permanent reminder of that encounter. Today we are pausing for a moment to remember our shoot with one of these incredible people.

In the summer of 2009 we met and photographed University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. Scott Mackler, a researcher on the genetic susceptibility of addition in the brain. Despite a decade of living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Dr. Mackler actively pursued his research and continued as a professor at Penn. Interviewed the year prior on CBS 60 Minutes, he was also a pioneer in a field called Brain-Computer Interface, a way of communicating with eye movements interpreted via computer to output as text or speech.

chris crisman dr scott mackler portrait

Scott led remarkable life as a husband and a father, still researching and teaching until his unexpected passing in the fall of 2013. We were touched by his kindness and perseverance, and his willingness to make time for our photo-shoot. After the shoot and now upon deeper reflection, we were humbled by his unyielding drive to continue, despite the very real circumstances of ALS.

chris crisman dr scott mackler portrait

Scott is survived by his wife, Dr. Lynn Snyder-Mackler, and sons Alexander and Noah. Scott’s work and legacy live on thanks to the Scott A. Mackler, MD, PhD, Assistive Technology Program at the ALS Association of Philadelphia and the Scott Mackler 5K Run/Walk.