Phyllis Merritt was born February 1, 1928 in Detroit, Mich., the daughter of Dr. Earl Merritt and Jacqueline Merritt. She earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1949. In her senior year, she began studies of the physiology of blood pressure with her mentor, Dr. David Bohr. Phyllis Hartroft became Phyllis Merritt Hartroft when she married W. Stanley Hartroft in 1950. She continued blood pressure studies especially the effect of salt and DOCA on the renal juxtaglomerular cells, at the University of Toronto under W. Stanley Hartroft and earned an M.A. in 1951 and a Ph.D. in 1954.
She continued to work on the physiology of blood pressure with Hartroft at Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine, where they moved in 1954. They published the first of numerous papers on the physiology of the kidney and high blood pressure in 1953. Although they later divorced Phyllis Hartroft credited him with having a profound influence on her career.
Much of the blood pressure work for which she was acclaimed was done at Washington University between 1954-61 when she was a member of the medical school faculty for the first of two intervals. She moved quickly up the ladder from research assistant in 1955 to research assistant professor in 1961. He was professor of pathology and chair of the department of pathology. Subsequently, she was associated with the Research Institute of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and then the Indiana University faculty.
In 1966, she retumed to the Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine to continue her investigation of the physiology of blood pressure and its effect on the kidneys at Tyson Research Center. In 1970, Dorothy Brockhoff interviewed her at Tyson as she worked, about current blood pressure studies and a new study of the effects of pollution on animals at the Tyson research center with Marshall Kuhn III. In 1975, Dorothy Brockoff featured Phyllis Hartroft at Tyson with Marie Greider, her friend and colleague, at Tyson research Center. The focus was a the environmental study of the effects of pollution on animals. Department chair Paul E. Lacy and students in her group are featured.
She retired in 1985 from Washington University and moved to Licking County, Ohio with her friend and fellow WUSM pathologist, Marie H. Greider. Throughout her professional career, she taught and conducted research on the endocrine system, kidney function and hypertension. She died in 2014.
Source: Brockhoff, Dorothy, Pastoral Pathologist, Washington University Magazine, Summer 1975, page 1-7 (with photos page 1-2) & Dr. Phyllis Merritt Hartroft, Newark Advocate, Published in the Advocate on Sept. 23, 2014, https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newarkadvocate/obituary.aspx?n=phyllis-merritt-hartroft&pid=172538658&fhid=8653