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The Washington University community is saddened to learn of the sudden and accidental death of Melanie Michailidis, PhD, who was in the second year of a three-year post-doctoral fellowship with the university's Department of Art History and Archaeology, in Arts & Sciences, and who had a joint appointment with the St. Louis Art Museum. She was killed in an automobile accident Friday night, along with two other individuals. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.

Dr. Michailidis was a gifted and passionate scholar and teacher on the subject of Islamic art, according to Elizabeth Childs, chair of the Department of Art History and Archaeology. "Her courses were extremely popular with undergraduates and graduates alike, and she added important, diverse new areas of expertise to the offerings in art history," Childs said. "She was an exceptionally bright and thoughtful scholar, an energetic and rigorous teacher, and always an extremely kind and generous colleague. She will be deeply missed by friends, students, and faculty alike."

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

More about Dr. Michailidis

Dr. Michailidis was the Korff Post-doctoral Fellow in Islamic Art in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, in Arts & Sciences, at Washington University. She held a BA from the University of Tennessee, and an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London, where she began her studies in Islamic Art.

In 2007, she earned a PhD in Islamic art and architecture from MIT, where she specialized in monumental funerary architecture in Iran and Central Asia of the 10th and 11th centuries.  She had taught Islamic art and architecture previously at Carleton College, in Minnesota, and at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Michailidis was in the second year of a three-year term in a fellowship shared with the St Louis Art Museum, where she was curating the Islamic collections in preparation for the reopening of the museum next summer.  

She was the recipient of many distinguished grants, including an Aga Kahan doctoral fellowship at MIT, an Ittleson Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery in Washington, and a Fulbright Fellowship for site research in Uzbekistan.