Brock Luty (Ph.D. ’93)

BROCK ALLEN LUTY PHD Brock Allen Luty PhD, 58, of Poway, CA, passed away on April 3, 2023, surrounded by his wife and daughters at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla due to complications that arose after open heart surgery. Brock was born November 19, 1964, in Kansas City, Missouri and was adopted into the welcoming home of Robert and Virginia Luty of McPherson Kansas. He was joined soon after by brother Jeff and sister Denise and together they became a very loving and close family. He was an inquisitive child that was known to take things apart to figure out how they worked although not always getting them back together again. Throughout his middle and high school years, Brock was active in sports, almost always had at least one job, loved to ride his motorcycle and played the first Atari games. His interest in computers and programing was strong from the very beginning and his first Macintosh 512K still sits in his office at home. His family was active in the First Christian Church and have many stories of the youth group activities and the closeness of those friends. It was at a youth group meeting that he met his future wife Jo Strobel who attended while visiting her sister during the summer. He spent most of his 1st period electronics class his senior year writing her letters and their friendship and love continued to grow throughout college even though she attended rival KU. Brock attended Kansas State University and was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He developed strong friendships during pledge training that continue to this day. His return to KSU his sophomore year was delayed after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Radiation therapy put his cancer into remission, and he was able to return to complete his chemical engineering degree in 1987. He became interested in computational methods for simulating biochemical systems and studied under Dr. Andy McCammon at the University of Houston. Once again, his schooling was delayed as he suffered another battle with Hodgkin’s and underwent Chemotherapy treatments which successfully cured his cancer. In 1990, he married Jo in a small ceremony in Houston and they spent their free time watching theater in the park and enjoying all that Houston had to offer. It was during this time that his friends introduced him to many international traditions and foods and spurred his desire to see more of the world. His final semester at UH was spent writing his thesis and taking care of son Braxton who was born in January. In May 1993, he earned his Ph.D. in chemical physics and his parents proudly attended his ceremony and that of his brother Jeff who obtained his Optometry Doctorate the same day. After being awarded a fellowship in the Human Frontiers program, he continued his studies in applied molecular simulation techniques at the ETH in Zurich as a postdoctoral student with Prof. Wilfred van Gunsteren. During his time in Switzerland, he and Jo welcomed their first daughter Juliet. Brock and Jo enjoyed traveling throughout Europe during this time and welcoming family when they came to visit. After 2 years in Zurich, an opportunity arose to return to the United States and join Agouron Pharmaceuticals to help develop novel structure-based drug discovery methods. He loved working with this group and seeing the drug discovery process from the ground up. After determining that they really loved living in San Diego, they moved to Carlsbad and welcomed their third child Isabel into their family. Brock continued working with the company through its integration into larger entities and eventually to becoming a part of Pfizer Global Research and Development. He left the company in 2008 after obtaining the position of Associate Research Fellow in Pfizer’s Computational Science Center of Excellence in La Jolla. After a short stint as an independent consultant, he joined Dart Neuroscience as Director of Scientific Computing. It was an exciting and fast paced time of working toward a drug that would help improve memory. After that company closed in 2018, he joined a Hungarian based company called ChemAxon where he helped open the San Diego Office and worked with their Professional Services group. Working with ChemAxon allowed him to switch from management roles to a more hands-on scientific computing. He eventually moved into their core architecture team before leaving the company in 2021. Knowing that he had developed a heart condition due to the radiation treatments he had undergone in his 20’s, Brock and Jo decided it was time to slow down a bit and remove some of the stressors that work and COVID had brought upon everyone. Brock became an independent contractor which allowed him to explore new things and work with a few up-and-coming startups as a consultant and advisor. Although he had recently started to call himself fully retired, he was always looking for new things to learn. He frequently commented that he loved living in a neighborhood that was truly a village where everyone looked after each other and kids played in the streets. He enjoyed attending his children’s school programs and rarely missed a soccer game which was quite a feat with all three playing at the same time. He was very proud of each of his children, and he learned so much from them. Brock loved to travel and try new foods at each place, however he hated to fly and always said there was no such thing as a “good flight”. This didn’t stop him from going anywhere and he had a long list of places he still wanted to go. He was often sending Jo a new idea to add to the list. He had just completed a trip to Hawaii with his brother Jeff and their spouses and splurged on a helicopter ride over the Kilauea Volcano which was active at the time. Brock was preceded in death by his grandparents Luther and Verda Horn and Marvin and Nellie Luty. He is survived by his parents Robert and Virginia Luty of McPherson KS; wife, Jo of Poway CA; children: Braxton (Neil) of Indianapolis, IA, Juliet (Christian) of Oceanside, CA and Isabel (Colin) of Carlsbad, CA.; siblings: Jeff (Mary Kate) Luty of Olathe KS, Denise (Brent) Klaske of Rossville, KS; Sisters in law: Susan (Myron) Edmonston Protection KS, Sally (Mike) Robinson of Lyons KS, Nancy (Rick) Trease of McPherson, KS; brother in law Steve (Jan) Strobel of Bucklin, KS; Half-sister by birth Karen Lloyd and half-brother by birth, John Austin both of Torrance, CA; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins that are all in our hearts. A private celebration of life will be held on April 22 in Olathe KS. His body was donated to the UCSD Medical School to help the training and knowledge of future doctors and nurses. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that anyone that is physically able to donate blood to do so at their local blood bank. There is a true and never-ending need for blood products in hospitals every day.

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