Lauren Vedder Ackerman was born in Auburn, New York in 1905. In 1927, he received a bachelor's degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He received his medical degree at the University of Rochester in 1932. In 1942, following residences in California and Massachusetts, he became Chief of Laboratories at Ellis Fischel State Cancer Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. He would become the medical director of that institution.
In 1948, he was appointed professor of pathology at Washington University School of Medicine where he taught for 25 years. He also served as the director of the school's Division of Surgical Pathology and as pathologist-in-chief at Barnes Hospital. Later in his career, he joined the faculty at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1973.
Dr. Ackerman contributed more than 200 papers and abstracts and wrote several textbooks that are standards in the pathology field. In 1947, he co-authored Cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis. He later wrote Surgical Pathology in 1953 which set the standard for the practice of that specialty. He was credited with establishing surgical pathology as a separate medical specialty that involves the diagnosis of disease based on surgical biopsies. He died in 1993 at the age of 88 in New York.