Luse, Sarah A.

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Luse, Sarah A.

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1918-1970

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Sarah Amanda Luse was an internationally known expert on sub-microscopic changes in tissues caused by disease. A neuropathologist, Luse was one of the first to study the nervous system with the electron microscope and was an authority on the ultramicroscopic changes in brain cells caused by drugs, viruses, and cancer. In the mid 1950s, Luse's discovery that a particular kind of brain cell was damaged by multiple sclerosis was considered an important breakthrough in the study of the disease. Luse was born on her family's farm in Emmetsburg, Iowa in 1918.

Luse grew up working on the farm, caring for animals and operating farm machinery, skills which may have influenced her selection of medicine as a career and the use of biomedical equipment as a specialty. In 1940 Luse received an A.B. degree from Rockford College and then went to work as a technician in the biophysics division of the Mayo Clinic. She worked at the Mayo Clinic for five years, setting up and operating the electroencephalographic laboratory and publishing her first two scientific papers. Luse entered Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1945 and received her medical degree in 1949.

Sarah Luse joined the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine in 1954 as assistant professor of Anatomy. In 1957 she was promoted to associate professor of Anatomy and Pathology, and in 1963 to professor of Anatomy and Pathology. Luse was the first woman to be officially named to an administrative post in the School of Medicine in 1964 when she was appointed acting head of the Department of Anatomy. Luse left Washington University in 1967 to accept a faculty position at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Sarah Luse served as consultant to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and to several committees of the National Institutes of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award of the University of Minnesota Mayo Foundation, and the Alumni Achievement Awards of both Rockford College and Case-Western Reserve University. In December 1970, Sarah Luse died of myocarditis at the age of 52.

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