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Robert James Gorlin

Born 1923
Died 2006

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American oral pathologist and geneticist, born January 11, 1923, Hudson, New York; died August 29, 2006, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Biography of Robert James Gorlin

Robert James Gorlin achieved penetrating insights into genetic disorders of the head and neck and helped write a definitive medical reference work on the causes of facial malformations.

He graduated at Columbia College, served in the US Army during World War II and then studied at the Washington University School of Dentistry, graduating in 1947. He later obtained a M.S. in Chemistry at the State University of Iowa. After a number of academic posts Gorlin in 1956 moved to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, where he became professor and chairman of the division of oral pathology in 1958 and regents professor in 1979.

Gorlin became internationally known for his work in craniofacial and deafness syndromes. His major contribution was the delineation of cranio-facial syndromes and he published more than 400 articles in this field. His monograph Syndromes of the Head and Neck is the definitive work on the subject.

In 1974, Gorlin was awarded the Washington University Founders Day Distinguished Alumnus Award. From May 2000, he was Regents' Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology and Genetics, department of oral sciences, University of Minnesota. Here he served as professor of pathology, dermatology, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology and otolaryngology. He also served as president of the International Association for Dental Research, the American Academy of Oral Pathology and the International Society of Craniofacial Biology.

In addition to his duties in dentistry, he held appointments in the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Dermatology, and Otolaryngology. He was one of the founders and a diplomate of the American Board of Medical Genetics, Clinical Genetics.

Gorlin served for 30 years as editor of the oral pathology section of the Journal of Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine and Oral Pathology. He was on the editorial board of the American Journal of Medical Genetics from 1977 and of Dysmorphology and Clinical Genetics since 1982.

In 1997, Gorlin received the Premio Anni Verdi award in Spoleto, Italy. He was a senior fellow of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences. "Bob" Gorlin continued his writing and research until shortly before his death.

We thank Frederick Hecht, MD, for information submitted.

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