Isaac Abt, MD
Isaac Abt, MD, pediatrician and medical school professor, received his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in 1891. He began his practice in internal medicine and eventually devoted most of his time to pediatrics, becoming one of the earliest specialists in the field. From 1894 to 1897 he was an assistant in pediatrics and an instructor in physiology, histology, and physiology of the nervous system at the medical school. He also served as a district county physician and medical inspector for the Chicago health department. In 1897 Abt became professor of diseases of children at Northwestern University Woman's Medical College, a position he held until 1901. He then moved to Rush Medical College as associate professor of children's diseases. In 1909 he went back to Northwestern as a professor of pediatrics and chairman of the department. He remained at the medical school until his retirement in 1939. He was accorded emeritus status in 1940.
Abt wrote extensively for both scientific and lay audiences on pediatrics and published several books; his major work, the eight-volume System of Pediatrics, was published in 1923 to 1926. This became a classic in its field. With Edward Lasker, he developed an electric breast pump that became highly successful. He was the first physician in Chicago to administer diphtheria antitoxin, and he was the first American pediatrician to use protein milk in the treatment of diarrhea. Abt pioneered the early work on incubators for premature infants.top
Henry B. Betts, MD
Physiatrist, educator, advocate, and humanitarian Henry B. Betts, MD, has devoted his career to improving the lives of people with disabilities. He trained under rehabilitation medicine pioneer Howard Rusk, MD, and began his career at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) in 1963. Dr. Betts was appointed chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University Medical School in 1967 and became RIC's president and chief executive officer in 1986.
In 1989 the Prince Charitable Trusts established the Henry B. Betts Award to heighten public awareness of quality of life issues in disability and increase morale of those in the field. In 1990 Dr. Betts' support and guidance for the Americans with Disabilities Act helped bring the nation's focus on disability issues. His advocacy encouraged the City of Chicago to create curb cuts, easing access for people with disabilities. In recognition of his four decades of advocacy and service to children and adults with disabilities, Dr. Betts received Equip for Equality's 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award. Also in 2006, the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation presented Dr. Betts with the Frank H. Krusen Award, the organization's highest honor.top
John I. Brewer, MD, PhD
John I. Brewer, MD, PhD, joined the Northwestern University Medical School faculty in obstetrics and gynecology in 1930, becoming a full professor in the specialty in 1948, and emeritus professor in 1972. He served as department chair from 1972 - 1974, and remained active in his specialty until his death in 1997. From 1958 to 1990, he served as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and through the years served as president of nearly every professional organization in his specialty.
Dr. Brewer's research focused on gestational trophoblastic disease. In the late 1940s, he brought one of the first chemotherapeutic drugs, methotrexate, into clinical practice at Northwestern. He used it to treat choriocarcinoma, or cancer of the placenta, a nearly always fatal disease, which increased the survival rate to 92 percent. His innovative work in trophoblastic diseases was honored when Northwestern's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology established the John I. Brewer Trophoblastic Disease Center in 1962. In addition, the school created the John and Ruth Brewer Professor of Gynecology and Cancer Research in honor of Dr. Brewer and his wife.top
William Heath Byford, MD
William Byford, MD, became a tailor's apprentice at the age of 14. Even during his training, however, he was determined to become a medical doctor. He began studying medicine with a local physician and in 1838 passed the State of Indiana medical examination. His teaching career at the Evansville Medical College ended after a few years when he accepted an offer from Rush Medical College to become chair of obstetrics and diseases of women and children. Two years later, he resigned to accept a similar post at Lind University, now known as Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He is best known for his founding of the Women's Medical College in 1870. A prolific writer, he gained early notoriety with journal articles, initially on performing Caesarian sections. After 25 years of general practice, he became a specialist in women's medicine, and is acknowledged as one of the leaders in the American system of gynecology.top
Dudley Childress, PhD
Dudley S. Childress, PhD, professor emeritus of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine worked to advance prosthetic, orthotic, and assistive device technology. His research concentrated in the areas of biomechanics, human walking, artificial limbs, ambulation aids, and rehabilitation engineering.
Under Childress' direction, the first systems were developed to control power wheelchairs by switches that are activated by sipping and puffing on a tube or using other minimal movements. His group also developed one of the first environmental control systems enabling persons with paralyzed hands and arms to activate electrical devices such as lights and appliances. He was elected into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1995. In 1998, Childress and his colleagues developed a state-of-the-art motion analysis system, one of a few such research tools dedicated to studies of prostheses, orthoses, and other ambulation and manipulation aids. Childress received the Paul B. Magnuson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rehabilitation Research and Development in 2002, the VA's highest honor for VA rehabilitation investigators. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1995.top
Nathan Smith Davis, MD
Nathan Smith Davis, MD, began his medical education at the age of 17 as an apprentice with a local physician and the same year entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Western New York.
Subsequent years were spent in private practice and further academic study. His resolutions presented to the New York State Medical Society led to the establishment of the American Medical Association, and his later designation as the father of that organization.
In 1849, Dr. Davis, now 32 with a wife and two children, moved to Chicago to become a department chair at the newly opened Rush Medical College. One year later, he became chair of medicine and started Chicago's first hospital to augment the medical students' classroom instruction. In 1859, he and others founded the medical department of Lind University, which later became Chicago Medical College. Dr. Davis played a pivotal role in its later affiliation with Northwestern University, and he served as a University trustee until his death.
He was a leader in Chicago's history, having founded the Chicago Medical Society, the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Academy of Sciences, and the Union College of Law, which later became the Northwestern University School of Law, with Dr. Davis as a professor of medical jurisprudence.top
John Hamilcar Hollister, MD
John Hollister, MD, graduated with honors from the Rochester Collegiate Institute in New York and continued on for an additional year to obtain a teaching certificate. While teaching in Michigan, he decided to pursue a medical career and enrolled in the Berkshire Medical College in Massachusetts because the term ran from August to November, allowing him to work as a teacher in the other months. After seven years in practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he moved to Chicago at the urging of his friend Edmund Andrews. He joined Rush Medical College as demonstrator of anatomy and left two years later to join the faculty at Lind University, now known as Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he held several different chairs, ending with the professorship of clinical medicine, which he retained from 1882 to his retirement in 1895.
He was chairman of the medial and surgical staff at Cook County Hospital from 1866-96, and was treasurer of the Illinois State Medical Society for 22 years before becoming its president in 1875.
He received a master's degree from Beliot College and wrote an autobiography, Memories of Eighty Years.top
Ralph Nelson Isham, MD
The son of a physician, Ralph Isham, MD, followed in his father's path. He studied medicine under famous practitioners of the day, and received his medical degree in 1854 from the University of the City of New York, also known as Bellevue Hospital Medical College. After surviving tuberculosis, he was advised to move to the open country in the Northwest, so in 1855, he opened his practice in Chicago. It was in Dr. Isham's office that the organizational meeting for the Lind University medical department took place and he became the youngest faculty member. Lind University is now know as the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
President Abraham Lincoln appointed him surgeon in charge of the U.S. Marine Hospital in Chicago. During his career, Dr. Isham was known as a skilled surgeon and excellent teacher. He retired in 1898 after 45 years as a surgeon and 39 years as a member of the medical school faculty. A world-wide traveler, Dr. Isham was an avid golfer and owned a private course at his summer estate in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.top
Hosmer A. Johnson, MD
Hosmer Johnson, MD, obtained a Michigan teaching certificate at 18 and taught school while attending the equivalent of high school during the summers. In 1846, he entered the University of Michigan as a sophomore, but was forced to leave school at the end of his junior year due to a bronchial ailment that would plague him for the rest of his life. Finding a teaching position in Illinois to support himself, he continued his college studies independently and returned to Ann Arbor in 1849 to graduate with his class.
In 1850, he started his medical studies at Rush Medical College, still making a living as a teacher. He became an intern at the newly opened Mercy Hospital that spring, and he graduated in 1852. In that same year, he received a master's degree from the University of Michigan.
After one year in private practice, Dr. Johnson joined the faculty at Rush but resigned at the end of the 1858-59 school year to join a group negotiating with the trustees of Lind University to start its medical department. Lind University later became Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He was regarded as a pioneer in the field of nose and throat surgery, and was also a leader in the use of the microscope and the thermometer.top
Todd A. Kuiken, MD, PhD
Known as the creator of the "Bionic Arm," Todd A. Kuiken, PhD '89, MD '90, GME '95, gained world-wide recognition with the introduction of his neuro-controlled prosthetic arm that allows an amputee to move his or her artificial limb simply by thinking about it. The first major advancement in prosthetics since World War II, the thought-controlled arm allows for more natural movement and greater range of motion.
Dr. Kuiken began his pioneering research in nerve-muscle grafting in 1983 while working on his PhD in biomedical engineering as part of the combined MD/PhD program at Northwestern University. He is associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and of surgery at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where he also holds the post of associate dean. Dr. Kuiken is director of the Neural Engineering Center for Bionic Medicine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC).
In addition to his work with RIC and Feinberg, he collaborates with the U.S. government to provide the latest in medical and rehabilitative technologies for injured military personnel.top
Paul B. Magnuson, MD
Former chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Northwestern University Medical School, Paul B. Magnuson, MD, was the founder of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). He served as president of its board of directors from 1955-57. Dr. Magnuson was a renowned orthopedic surgeon who became an advocate for people with disabilities while serving as the medical director for the Veterans Administration during World War II.
Organized in 1954, the first rehabilitation hospital was located in a former printing plant on Ohio Street in Chicago and served only outpatients for the first four years. Affiliation with the medical school came in 1960, and six years later, the institute became a member of the McGaw Medical Center. Northwestern University offered a site for a new building on its Chicago campus, and in 1974, the current 18-story building was opened. Since RIC's humble beginning, it has grown to become the recognized leading provider of physical medicine and rehabilitation services.top
Charles H. Mayo, MD
Charles H. Mayo, MD, graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in 1888 and then joined his father and older brother in their practice in Rochester, Minnesota. In 1889, the Mayo family opened the first general hospital in southeastern Minnesota and pioneered the principle of group practice. Today, the Mayo Clinic is one of the largest integrated group practices in the world. In 1915, Charles established the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, the country’s first graduate education program in clinical medicine. He and his brother William designed courses to bring doctors up to date on the latest surgical and scientific developments during World War I.
A renowned surgeon, Mayo pioneered modern goiter surgery and surgical techniques for the nervous system. He performed numerous other procedures, including operations for cataracts, the brain, ear, nose, throat, and abdomen. In 1920, Mayo received the U.S. Distinguished Service medal. He served as president of the American Medical Association in 1916, and was a member of the Committee of American Physicians for Medical Preparedness organized by President Woodrow Wilson that same year. He also was a trustee of Northwestern University. Mayo retired from practice in 1928, and died in 1939.top
Chad Mirkin, PhD
Chad Mirkin, PhD, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry, and professor of Medicine-Infectious Diseases, came to Northwestern University in 1991 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry.
A world renowned nanoscience expert, he is known for the development of nanoparticle-based biodetection schemes, the invention of Dip-Pen Nanolithography, and contributions to supramolecular chemistry, nanoelectronics, and nanooptics. He is the author of more than 440 manuscripts and over 400 patents and applications, and the founder of three companies, Nanosphere, NanoInk, and Aurasense, which are commercializing nanotechnology applications in the life science and semiconductor industries. He is a member of President Obama's Council of Advisors for Science and Technology.
He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009 for the development of DNA programmable inorganic materials and dip pen nanolithography. He was elected in 2010 to the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.top
Sandra F. Olson, MD
At a time when only five percent of medical school students were women, Sandra F. Olson, MD '63, GME '69, emerged as a leader with numerous "firsts." Named the first woman president of the American Academy of Neurology in 2003, she was also the first female leader of the Illinois State Medical Society, the Chicago Medical Society, and the Chicago Neurological Society. Add to that list her appointment as first woman chief-of-staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) in 1982.
At Northwestern University Medical School, Dr. Olson served on numerous committees and was the first woman to become president of the Alumni Council, which eventually became today's National Alumni Board.
Dr. Olson's clinical career began in 1969 with her appointment as associate attending physician at NMH and instructor in neurology at the medical school. Currently, she is a professor emeritus in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology.top
Roswell Park, MD
Roswell Park, MD, received his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in 1876. He was an intern and physician at Cook County Hospital. In 1879 he was appointed demonstrator of anatomy at the Women's Medical College of Chicago, and in 1880 became adjunct professor of anatomy at the medical school. He left the U.S. in 1883 to study in Europe, and upon his return he accepted an appointment as lecturer of surgery at Rush Medical College, and attending surgeon at the Michael Reese Hospital. In 1883, Park accepted a position at the University of Buffalo as professor of surgery and a surgeon at Buffalo General Hospital. Park founded the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, America’s first cancer center, in 1898. His revolutionary model of a multidisciplinary approach to cancer with scientists and clinicians working together has become the standard by which modern-day comprehensive cancer centers are measured.
Park wrote a great deal for encyclopedias of surgery, pathology and therapeutics, and contributed extensively to current medical literature. He published several works, including Surgery of the Head and Brain, Surgery by American Authors, and General Surgery. He was president of the Medical Society of the State of New York and of the American Surgical Association; and chairman for the American committee of the International Society of Surgery. He was brigade surgeon of the New York National guard, holding the rank of major. He died in 1914.top
Hans Popper, MD, PhD
Hans Popper, MD, PhD, is widely regarded as the father of hepatology. A medical graduate of the University of Vienna and pre-war immigrant from Austria, Popper settled in Chicago, received his PhD in pathology in 1944 from the University of Illinois, and worked as a physician-scientist at the Cook County Hospital, where he rose to become director of the Hektoen Institute of Medical Research. Publishing more than 800 papers with particular focus on the liver in health and disease, he became a founding member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, now with more than 2,000 members. Returning from service following World War II, Popper was appointed associate professor of pathology in 1949 at Northwestern University Medical School, and promoted to professor in 1956. In 1957, Popper became chairman of pathology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and helped form the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he later served as dean and president. In 1967 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, in 1976, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.top
Alfred Newton Richards, PhD
Alfred Newton Richards, PhD, proved kidneys filter blood by inventing glomerular micropuncture, first employed inulin to study glomerular filtration rate, and determined that renal tubules secreted or reabsorbed various substances in processing final urine. Receiving an undergraduate degree from Yale in 1897 and his PhD in Physical Chemistry from Columbia University in 1901, he subsequently joined the faculty at Columbia and received a scholarship from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research where he fell under the influence of Christian Herter. Richards helped found the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 1904, eventually rising to editor, and held a life-long interest in the laboratory effects of drugs on the kidney.
In 1908, he was appointed professor of pharmacology at Northwestern University Medical School and, in 1910, was appointed chair of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to training a legion of distinguished investigators, Richards was elected to the National Academies of Sciences in 1927, received the Lasker Award in 1946, and later served as president of the National Academies of Sciences in 1949. President Roosevelt appointed him to head the Committee on Medical Research during the Second World War where he put penicillin in production as a therapeutic agent. From 1939 to 1948, Richards served as Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania.top
Howard Taylor Ricketts, MD
Howard Taylor Ricketts, MD, was a pathologist and infectious disease researcher. He graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in 1897 and then pursued a fellowship in pathology and cutaneous diseases at Rush. He studied blastomycosis, the first disease known to be produced by yeast. In 1900 he left to study at preeminent medical centers in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. Ricketts first major publication of his findings filled the entire 1901 issue of the Journal of Medical Research. He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1902, and by 1908 had won worldwide acclaim for his identification of the bacterial organism of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Ricketts was known for being a careful observer of the details of pathogenic microbes in relation to the appearance of disease symptoms. Ricketts only full-length book, Infection, Immunity and Serum Therapy, written in 1906 and published in 1908, was widely used in medical school classes. He became interested in the transmission of infections by mosquitos and fleas and decided to study typhus fever on the basis of insect transmission. While investigating typhus, he was bitten by a louse and succumbed to the disease himself. He died in 1910. The class of bacteria responsible for both Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and typhus was named the Rickettsia in his honor.top
Andrew E. "Drew" Senyei, MD
Drew Senyei, MD, has been a managing director at Enterprise Partners since 1987, a venture capital firm. He leads the life science practice, focusing on investments in pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, and consumer health care. While still a medical student at Northwestern University Medical School, he and classmate Kenneth J. Widder, MD '79, developed a drug delivery device and licensed it to Eli Lilly. Subsequently, Dr. Senyei joined Lilly as a consultant while completing his internship. In 2007, his $1 million gift to the medical school established the Drew Senyei, MD, Translational Research Award. Administered by the Northwestern University Clinical and Translation Sciences Institute, the award supports projects featuring novel, basic science discoveries that can be moved quickly toward clinical applications. With more data to support proof of concept, such projects become more attractive to conventional funding sources.top
Teepu Siddique, MD
Neurologist Teepu Siddique, MD, Les Turner ALS Foundation/Herbert C. Wenske Foundation Professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has devoted his career as a clinician-scientist to the study and treatment of neuromuscular diseases, especially amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's Disease. He has directed the Neuromuscular Disorders Program/Neurogenetics Laboratory and the Les Turner ALS Foundation Laboratory at Northwestern since 1991. Dr. Siddique led an international team that was the first to identify genes responsible for familial (inherited) forms of ALS: the SOD1 gene in 1993 and the ALS2, or alsin, gene in 2001. His laboratory also developed the first successful genetic mouse model of ALS in 1994. In 2008, his lab verified the existence of an X chromosome-linked gene (X-ALS) that may be involved in both ALS and ALS/dementia. For his seminal work in ALS neurogenetics, he received the first Sheila Essey Award from the American Academy of Neurology. Other honors include the Hope Through Caring Award from the Les Turner ALS Foundation, the Third Annual Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Award from the Columbia University College of Physician and Surgeons, and the Forbes Norris Award from the International Alliance of ALS/MND (Motor Neurone Disease) Associations.top
Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD
Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, received a master's degree in anatomy in 1950 and in 1952 earned a doctoral degree in neurophysiology and a medical degree with distinction from Northwestern University Medical School. He served on the faculty of the medical school from 1958 to 1961 and joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine as an associate professor in surgery in 1962. He was known as the father of transplantation, and performed the first successful liver transplant in 1967 at the University of Colorado. Starzl conducted the first multiple organ transplant in 1983, the first heart and liver transplant in 1984, and the first liver and intestine transplant in 1990. In 1980 he introduced the anti-rejection medications, anti-lymphocyte globulin and cyclosporine. He was instrumental in developing tacrolimus, a drug that significantly increased survival rates in transplantation patients.
Starzl joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as professor of surgery in 1981. Northwestern University presented Starzl with an honorary doctor of science degree in 1982. In 1996 the University of Pittsburgh’s transplant center was renamed the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, where he still devotes his time to research and as a professor. He was elected into the Institute of Medicine in 1999 and received a Lasker Award in 2012.top
Mary Thompson, MD
Mary Thompson, MD, was the medical school's first female medical graduate and the first female surgeon in the United States. She received her medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in 1870. She founded the Women's Medical College, the first medical school for women in the Midwest; the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children, the first hospital staffed by female physicians; and helped found Chicago’s first nursing school in 1874. She also developed a number of surgical instruments and procedures.
Thompson was admitted to the Chicago Medical Society in 1873; she became the organization’s vice president and its first female officer in 1886. She was a member of the American Medical Association (AMA), and the AMA’s first woman to present a paper to the Section on Diseases of Children, which earned her the role of section chair. She published and presented several papers on women’s health and childhood diseases during her career. In 1892, she joined the faculty of the Northwestern University Woman’s Medical School as a clinical professor of gynecology. Thompson died in 1895. Shortly after her death, the board of the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children renamed the hospital the Mary Thompson Hospital of Chicago for Women and Children. The hospital closed in 1988.top
Daniel Hale Williams, MD
Daniel Hale Williams, MD, the school’s first African-American graduate and faculty member, earned his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in 1883 and served on the medical faculty from 1885 to 1889. He performed one of the world’s first successful heart operations in 1893. He was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health in 1887 and became the attending physician at the Protestant Orphan Asylum. Williams founded Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first black-owned and -operated interracial hospital in the country in 1891.
President Grover Cleveland appointed him surgeon-in-chief at Freedman’s Hospital, Washington, D.C. from 1894 to 1898. Williams was the first black fellow of the American College of Surgeons and was the principal founder of the National Medical Association. In 1909 he was appointed to the surgical staff at Cook County Hospital. After completing his career on the surgical staff at St. Luke’s Hospital-Chicago, he retired in 1931. He died that same year. Feinberg dedicated an auditorium and atrium in the McGaw Pavilion of the Health Sciences Building in honor of Williams in 2004.top
This page last updated Jun 28, 2012