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Park Spearin Gerald

Born  1921
Died  1993

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American paediatrician and human geneticist, born 1921, Omaha, Nebraska; died 1993.

Biography of Park Spearin Gerald

Park Spearin Gerald earned his M.D. from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, in 1947. In 1948 he completed an internship in paediatrics at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. He then began his research career at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, where he worked in infant nutrition with Benjamin Kagan. In 1951 he entered the U.S. Army and served with distinction as a paediatrician in the 11th Field Hospital in Augsburg, Germany.

In 1953 Gerald came to Children's Hospital where he served as a junior and senior assistant resident in paediatrics until 1955 and became a research fellow in that year. He became an associate professor with tenure in 1967 and a full professor in 1970.

Gerald distinguished himself with his work on human haemoglobin abnormalities and in 1962 received the E. Mead-Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics. In the late 1950s, Luis Klein Diamond (1902-1999) sent Gerald for a fellowship with Penrose at the Galton Laboratory at University College, London. There, Gerald devoted himself to human genetics and the growing field of cytogenetics. He returned to Children's to establish the first human genetics research and training program at Harvard. The training program was also one of the first in the United States.

Gerald made important contributions in the field of human cytogenetics and devoted much of his efforts to the early and important attempts at mapping human genes to specific chromosomes, both by clinical correlation and by the use of somatic cell hybrids. He was deeply involved in the important survey studies to elucidate the frequency of chromosomal abnormalities in newborns and young children. Finally, he was involved in important studies of the behavioural development of children with sex chromosome abnormalities.

Gerald retired in December 1981. During the last years of his tenure he became interested in informatics and after retirement he pursued his passion for computers full time and became a very active member of the Boston Computer Society.

We thank Frederick Hecht for information submitted.


  • Park Spearing Gerald.
    In a Faculty of Medicine -- Memorial Minute, by David G. Nathan, M.D; Chair Chester Alper, M.D; Thomas Cone, Jr., M.D; Louis Kunkel, Ph.D; Fred Rosen, M.D.
    On the website of Harvard Gazette Archives.

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