Pediatric Pathology - About Maud L. Menten, MD, PhD

Dr. MentenMaud Leonora Menten was born in Port Lambton, Ontario, Canada, on March 20, 1879. She was educated at the University of Toronto, from which she received her BA(1904), MB(1907), and MD(1911). Her first research work was done during medical school with Professor A.P. Macallum, and then she worked with Simon Flexner and J.V. Jobling at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research(1907-08). Following an internship at the New York Infirmary for Women and Children (1908-09), she conducted research at the University of Toronto and at the Western Reserve University. In 1913 she worked with Leonor Michaelis in Berlin, Germany, on the relationship between the rate of enzyme-catalyzed chemical reactions and the concentration of the enzyme's substrate. The classical paper describing the Michaelis-Menten equation and its underlying theory was published in the same year (English translation by Goody and Johnson). She received a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Chicago in 1916 and joined the staff of the Elizabeth Steel Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh. In 1918 she was appointed to the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as a demonstrator in pathology and was subsequently promoted to assistant professor(1923), associate professor(1925), and professor(1949). In 1926 she became a pathologist at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and held that post until retirement in 1950. Thereafter, she joined the British Columbia Medical Research Institute to continue her studies on cancer. She retired because of ill health in 1954 and died in Lemington, Ontario, on July 20, 1960.

Among her other major achievements were the discovery of the hyperglycemic effect of Salmonella toxin(1925); the use of immunization in the treatment of infectious diseases in experimental animals(1930-45); the determination of the sedimentation constants and electrophoretic mobilities of adult and fetal carboxy-hemoglobins(1944), which was the first use of electrophoretic mobility measurements to study differences in human hemoglobins; Still Lifeand the development of the azo-dye coupling reaction for alkaline phosphatase(1944), which opened the field of enzyme histochemistry. She was also an outstanding hospital pathologist and teacher; an active member of a number of medical and scientific societies; an accomplished painter; and a student of art, music, language, and astronomy. Her insistence on excellence and commitment to research, her compassion for the sick, and her multifaceted artistic and linguistic talents make her an outstanding example of the person who can productively and gracefully bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.

In her honor, the Pathology Education and Research Foundation established the Annual Maud L. Menten Lecture in 1982 and, with the assistance of departmental alumni, the Maud L. Menten Professorship of Experimental Pathology in 1988.

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