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Authority record

Shaffer, Philip A.

  • 9317334
  • Person
  • 1881-1960

Philip A. Shaffer (1881-1960) was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, son of Joseph H. and Hannah Anderson Shaffer. After preliminary education in Martinsburg, he entered the University of West Virginia at the age of 15 and, after receiving his AB, attended Harvard University, obtaining his PhD in biological chemistry in 1904. Shaffer married Nan Jefferson Evans in 1904. The couple had three children, Jane Jefferson Prince of St. Louis, Nancy Elizabeth Shaffer, and Philip Anderson Shaffer, Jr.

While working for his doctorate at Harvard, he was a research biological chemist at McLean Hospital in Waverly, Massachusetts, 1900-1903. After graduation from Harvard, Shaffer became Assistant and Instructor of Chemical Pathology at Cornell University Medical College in New York, remaining there for six years. In 1910 he was appointed Professor of Biological Chemistry and Head of the Department at Washington University School of Medicine, a position he retained until 1946. He twice served as Dean of the School, from 1915 to 1919 and from 1937 to 1946. He was Distinguished Service Professor of Biochemistry from 1946 to 1952, becoming Emeritus in 1951 when he retired from the Medical School Faculty. His teaching career was interrupted briefly during World War I when he served as a Major in the U.S. Army, A.E.F., being given the responsibility for the diets of the overseas personnel. Shaffer was a member of the following societies: Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academy of Sciences, American Society of Biological Chemists (Secretary 1913-1915, President 1923-1924), American Philosophical Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Psi, Alpha Tau Omega.

Shaffer first worked with Otto Folin and his first scientific publication, in 1901, concerned the quantitative determination of uric acid in urine. Later papers were published which dealt both with broad concepts of metabolism over a wide field, and with specific chemical methods of study. One of his early important contributions was his study of metabolism in typhoid fever, which lead to the development of the Coleman-Shaffer high caloric diet in the treatment of that disease. Interest then shifted to relationships of carbohydrate and fat metabolism, with special emphasis on the significance of ketosis. In these studies he collaborated with many of his students and junior staff members - Williams McKim Marriott, Roger S. Hubbard, Michael Somogyi, Alexis F. Hartmann, Edward A. Doisy, Theodore E. Friedemann, and Ethel Ronzoni. Of special interest, Shaffer developed a rapid method of measuring the sugar in small amounts of blood. Banting and Best used his finding in their discovery and assay of insulin. A case arose not long thereafter where insulin was needed to save the lives of two infants in the St. Louis Children's Hospital. Shaffer followed Banting and Best's method. That experience quickly led to understanding that strong acid is needed in the original extraction from the pancreas, and that insulin is a protein and it could be highly concentrated by isoelectric precipitation. At that time, such facts were unknown, either to the Toronto investigators or to the Eli Lilly scientists, who were encountering difficulty in getting consistently potent insulin preparations by the original method. Shaffer's contributions hastened the commercial production of insulin. In his later years, Shaffer became interested in oxidation-reduction reactions, and in this area his contributions were also of significance.

Shaffer published a total of 72 scientific papers. Yet it is probably fair to state that by far the greatest part of his time and efforts were concerned with administrative issues of the School and University that came before him as a member of the Senate and Executive Faculty and as Dean.

Those of us who were privileged to work with Shaffer admired him most for his extraordinary ability to perceive unusual talent in very young people, a trait which led to many valuable appointments to the School of Medicine (W. McKim Marriott, E. A. Doisy, Evarts A. Graham, E. W. West, Carl and Gerty Cori, David Barr, Willard Allen, Barry Wood, R. A. Moore, to mention just a few), for his tremendous courage in never wavering from the high principles which he set for himself and the School of Medicine, and for his extreme loyalty to the School and his utter unselfishness in working for it.

Shaffer died December 4, 1960.

*Adapted from a statement written for the Executive Faculty meeting of December, 1960 by Alexis F. Hartmann, Sr., Carl F. Cori, and Joseph Erlanger. Abbreviated and edited for this introduction November 2001.

O'Leary, James L., 1904-1975

  • 9667769
  • Person
  • 1904-1975

James L. O'Leary was born on December 8, 1904 in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. At the age of two, his family moved to San Antonio, Texas. He began his undergraduate career at the University of Texas in San Antonio in 1920. After two years, he transferred to the University of Chicago, where he was awarded his B.S. in Biology in 1925. Following his matriculation, he began work on his Ph.D. in Anatomy. During his Ph.D. studies, he worked as an Instructor in Anatomy at the university. After receiving his doctorate in 1928, he accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Anatomy at the Washington University School of Medicine. In addition to his role at Washington University, O'Leary he continued his studies in Chicago, pursuing a medical degree during the summer months. He received his M.D. from the University of Chicago in 1931.

After graduation, O'Leary moved to St. Louis and began to work full time at the university. In 1933, he was promoted to Associate Professor of Anatomy and, in 1941, was jointly appointed to as an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the developing Neurology Division. He held both of these positions until 1946. In 1941, O'Leary joined the United States Medical Corps. He was assigned to the Army School of Military Neuropsychiatry at Mason General Hospital in New York, where he taught neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and electroencephalography. He was honorably discharged in 1946, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Upon his return, O'Leary was appointed as an Associate Professor and head of the Neurology Division. Under his leadership, the division was granted full department status in 1963. During his time with the department, he extensively studied nerve physiology, pain mechanisms, and the clinical and electroencephalographic aspects of epilepsy. He continued to serve as head of the department until his retirement from teaching and administration in 1971. He continued his work with the university in the role of Emeritus Professor of Neurology and Neurological Surgery.

Throughout his career, Dr. O'Leary was involved with a number of professional organizations. He served as president of the American Neurological Society, American Electroencephalographic Society, and the American Epilepsy Society. In 1971, he received the American Neurological Association's Jacoby Award, the highest honor awarded by the association. James L. O'Leary died on May 25, 1975 at the age of 70 years.

Tuholske, H. (Herman)

  • n2017189594
  • Person
  • 1848-1922

Herman Tuholske was born on March 27, 1848 in Meseritz, Prussia. He was educated at the Berlin Gymnasium and immigrated to the United States, settling in St. Louis in 1865. He graduated from the Missouri Medical College in 1869 and then returned to Europe for a time to complete post-graduate courses in Vienna, Berlin, London and Paris. From 1870 to 1875 Tuholske served as physician to the St. Louis City Dispensary; he was also in charge of the Quarantine Hospital during this time. In 1873 he was appointed professor of anatomy at Missouri Medical College. He became professor of surgery in 1882, a post he maintained until 1909 (Missouri Medical College was absorbed by Washington University in 1899).

In 1882, Tuholske co-founded the St. Louis Post-Graduate School of Medicine and its hospital, where he also served as professor of surgery. The school was the first of its kind in the country. From 1890 to 1902, Tuholske established and ran the St. Louis Surgical and Gynecological Hospital, a private institution attached to his home. Tuholske became the first president of the medical staff at Jewish Hospital in 1902 and served in this capacity until 1920; he was head of the hospital's Department of Surgery concurrently.

A specialist in abdominal surgery, Tuholske's accomplishments include being the first to record successful ovariotomies and developing a new method of stomach resection. Tuholske was also a leader in the campaign to make completion of a three-year medical course a prerequisite for obtaining a medical license in Missouri, and he was instrumental in the creation of the Missouri State Board of Health. Additionally, he was a founding member of the International Gynecological Association.

Sonnenwirth, Alexander C.

  • n79005678
  • Person
  • 1923-1984

Alexander C. Sonnenwirth was born in Oradea, Romania into a German-speaking Jewish family. In addition to German, Sonnenwirth learned Romanian, Hungarian, and Hebrew as a child. After completing his secondary education, Sonnenwirth went to Budapest to stay with relatives while he worked as a photographer. However, World War II shattered the world in which he and his family lived. Most of the Jews of Oradea, including Sonnenwirth's parents, were sent to death camps by the German invaders. Sonnenwirth escaped that fate, but was forced to serve in a labor gang for the duration of the war until he was rescued by Allied forces.

Immediately after the war, Sonnenwirth lived in a camp for displaced persons in Marburg, Germany. He was awarded a Hillel Scholarship which enabled him to come to the United States to study bacteriology at the University of Nebraska. After earning a Bachelor's degree in 1950, Sonnenwirth continued his studies at Purdue University where he graduated with a Master's of Science in 1953. While a student, he married Rosaline Soffer, and in 1953, the Sonnenwirths moved to St. Louis when he was appointed Assistant Director of the Division of Bacteriology at Jewish Hospital.

Sonnenwirth became the director of the division in 1955 and began doctoral studies in bacteriology at Washington University. Studying under Dr. Theodore Rosebury of the School of Dentistry, Sonnenwirth received his PhD in 1960. In addition to his duties at Jewish Hospital, Sonnenwirth served several academic appointments including Instructor of Bacteriology in the School of Dentistry (1958-1961) and as Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine for the Departments of Microbiology (1962) and Pathology (1968). In 1970, he was promoted to Associate Professor in the latter two departments and became a full Professor in 1977.

Sonnenwirth's scientific contributions included both 'pure' research and innovation in clinical technology. His chief research specialty was the study of anaerobic gram-negative bacilli. His enormous knowledge in this and related fields was expressed in the publication of over one hundred scientific papers and summarized in his editorship of the sixth, seventh, and eighth editions of Gradwohl's Clinical Laboratory Methods and Diagnosis (1963, 1970, 1980). He and his colleagues of the Microbiology Laboratory at Jewish Hospital were leading evaluators of new equipment and procedures, particularly of automated testing instrumentation.

Sonnenwirth was for many years a key participant in professional associations of microbiologists and their conferences, symposiums, and seminars. This activity included extensive travel within the U.S. and abroad. Sonnenwirth is remembered for his services to the American Society for Microbiology, having been among the organizers of the Clinical Microbiology Section in 1963 and its chairman from 1970 to 1973. Sonnenwirth was chosen by the American Society for Microbiology to receive its highest professional recognition, the Becton-Dickinson Award, in 1984.

Schlessinger, David

  • n88090782
  • Person
  • Born 1936

David Schlessinger was born in Toronto, Canada. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in 1956, Schlessinger received his doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1960, where he worked for DNA co-discoverer and Nobel laureate James Watson.

Following two years of postdoctoral training at the Pasteur Institute with another laureate, Jacques Monod, Schlessinger joined Washington University, where he served as professor of molecular microbiology, genetics and microbiology in medicine.

In 1997 he moved to the National Institutes of Health where he is an NIH Distinguished Investigator at the Laboratory of Genetics at the National Institute on Aging (NIA). In 2017 he received the Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.

Mackie, Anita

  • n88260181
  • Person
  • 1930-

Anita Whitney Mackie is a former assistant professor of preventive medicine at Washington University School of Medicine who spent the majority of her career working on health services and agricultural issues in Africa. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland IN 1930, Mackie holds degrees from McGill University (B. Sc. 1952), Cornell University (M.S., 1954), and Michigan State University (PH.D. Communications, 1962). She originally began her professional career as an agricultural economist in Nigeria for Stanford University and served on Nigerian relief in 1967-1968, but the Biafran War forced her return to the United States. At that point in 1970, she became a member of the Washington University School of Medicine faculty. At Washington University, Mackie acted as a liason between the medical center and the division of Health Care Research. She was assistant professor of Health care services in preventative medicine (communication). In the early 1970s, she was called back to Africa and spent the next two decades working with USAID and the Foreign Service in Chad. In her retirement years, Mackie has lived in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the U.S.

Sources: curriculum vitae, 1970; Washington University School of Medicine catalog, 1970/71-1973/74

Gasser, Herbert S. (Herbert Spencer)

  • n89663704
  • Person
  • 1888-1963

Herbert S. Gasser (1888-1963) was a physiologist who received (jointly with Joseph Erlanger) the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1944. He served on the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine, 1916-1931. He earned a bachelor's degree (1910) and master's degree (1911) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1915 and later served as a professor of physiology and director, 1935-1953 at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

Howard, Harvey J.

  • no2003102744
  • Person
  • 1880-1956

Harvey J.Howard (1880-1956) was the first chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Washington University School of Medicine. He graduated with his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1908 and in 1910, Howard headed to China to serve a five year term as head of the Ophthalmology Department in the University Medical School at Canton Christian College. Upon his return to the U.S., Howard studied ophthalmologic pathology, specializing in congenital abnormalities of the eye, at Harvard University on a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship, and was elected to the American Ophthalmological Society in 1917 for his work.

During WWI, Howard briefly served as a captain in the U.S. Army, where he developed the Howard-Dolman depth perception test for aviators. After his military service, he returned to China in 1917 as the head of the Department of Ophthalmology at Union Medical College in Beijing, an appointment that lasted until 1927. During his decade in Beijing, Howard conducted research on epithelial cells and organized a teaching program in which he arranged for many prominent ophthalmologists to guest teach. He also served as the ophthalmologist to Pu Yi, the boy emperor in the Forbidden City, from 1921 to 1925. In 1926, he and his son, Jim, were kidnapped by Manchurian bandits and held for $100,000 ransom. They were held for ten weeks and despite the gang's threats, Howard and his son escaped largely due to his fluent Chinese and by treating the kidnappers" medical ailments. Upon his release, Howard wrote Ten Weeks with Chinese Bandits, an accounting of his adventures during his captivity. The publication was translated into seven languages and went through eight printings.

In 1927, he was contacted by Washington University School of Medicine asking him to serve as the first Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology. He accepted the position and was instrumental in the construction of a new building devoted to ophthalmology. At the medical school, Howard was responsible for the development of a resident training program in ophthalmology and conducted research on trachoma among the Indians and aviation medicine. In addition to his teaching duties, Howard served as the medical director for the Missouri Commission for the Blind from 1931 to 1948 and entered private practice in 1934.

Probstein, J. G. (Jacob G.)

  • no2004069407
  • Person
  • 1894-1993

Jacob G. Probstein was a former chief of surgery at Jewish Hospital who is best known as the last team doctor for the St. Louis Browns and the first team doctor for the St. Louis Blues. After he was hired by the Blues in 1967, Probstein became a hockey fan and was a fixture at Blues hockey games well into his 90s, missing no more than a dozen home games each season until the last two years of his life prior to his death in 1993. Probstein also helped found the Missouri Cancer Commission in 1962 and wrote a book on the treatment of pancreatitis.

Abrams, Morris

  • Person
  • 1913-1991

Dr. Morris Abrams was born in Chicago on January 7, 1913. He received his undergraduate degree in 1934 from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and his medical degree in 1937 from the University of Illinois School of Medicine in Chicago. Dr. Abrams served his internship at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan and had surgery and urology residencies at Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland and at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.

During World War II, Dr. Abrams served in the U.S. Army as the division surgeon for General George Patton's 4th Armored Division. He retired from the army in 1945 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war, Dr. Abrams worked at Harvard University from 1947 to 1949 before moving to St. Louis in 1950 to serve as the Chief of Urology at the Homer G. Phillips Hospital in north St. Louis. He was also on the staff at Barnes and Jewish Hospitals, and was chief of urology at Jewish from 1954 to 1963, and again from 1982 until he retired in 1987.

Adams, William

  • Person
  • 1902-1973

With Evarts A. Graham, William Elias Adams performed the first successful total pneumonectomy for bronchogenic carcinoma in 1933.

Alden, Arthur Maxwell

  • Person
  • 1885-1965

Arthur Maxwell Alden was an Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine from 1922-1950, when he received emeritus status.

Allen, Duff S.

  • Person
  • 1895-1958

Duff S. Allen graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in 1919. With Evarts A. Graham, Duff devised the cardioscope through which the live heart could be seen. Allen is credited as the first surgeon to operate inside a living heart. Allen became a professor of clinical surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in 1940.

Allen, Robert H.

  • Person

Washington University School of Medicine class of 1966.

Alpha Omega Alpha

  • Corporate body
  • 1902-

Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) is a national medical honor society that recognizes scholarship and leadership in medicine and related fields. It is composed of medical men and women, in medical schools in North America who show promise for attaining professional leadership, notable physicians in practice, and others who have gained unusual recognition in fields related to medicine. The original chapter was founded in 1902 by William W. Root, then a junior in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago, medical department of the University of Illinois.

Root founded the organization as a protest against 'a condition which associated the name medical student with rowdyism, boorishness, immorality, and low educational ideals.' Root and his fellow medical students formed a society that would foster honesty and formulate higher ideals of scholastic achievement.

The Washington University Chapter, called the Alpha of Missouri, founded in 1905, was the seventh chapter. The founding members of AOA at the medical school saw the need for a higher educational standard before the 1910 Flexner report changed the department and American medical education as a whole. The Washington University Medical Department raised its standards for entrance to the medical school, hired full time faculty, reformed the curriculum, and built a new medical campus with numerous hospitals on site as partners in medical education.

As the negative image of the medical student changed, the society continued to foster and honor student scholastic achievement at Washington University. The activities for members changed over the years but included initiation with an AOA membership key and certificate, annual banquets and lectures, and an AOA Book Prize still given each year at commencement for outstanding scholarship (News from the Medical School, Washington University, press release, March 10, 1954; Washington University School of Medicine Bulletin online, accessed 3/17/2006; Online Finding Aid to the Alpha Omega Alpha Archives, 1894-1968, at the National Library of Medicine, accessed 8/11/2006).

Alvis, Bennett Y.

  • Person
  • 1884-1977

Bennett Young Alivs graduated from St. Louis University Medical School in 1918, and entered private practice in Ophthalmology with Dr. Meyer Weiner in 1920. He also served as an Associate Professor at Washington University School of Medicine from 1920 until his death in 1977.

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