- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Edmund Vincent Cowdry

Born  1888
Died  1975

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American anatomist, zoologist, and cytologist, born 1888, Alberta province, Canada; died 1975.

Biography of Edmund Vincent Cowdry

Edmund Vincent Cowdry, anatomist, zoologist, and cytologist, was a man of wide interests. After receiving his BA from the University of Toronto in 1909, he continued with graduate training in anatomy and received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1913. From 1913 to 1917 he was on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University. In 1917 he went to China as one of the first professors at Peking Union Medical College, established by the Rockefeller Foundation. From 1921 to 1928 he was with the Rockefeller Institute in New York. It was in this period he began he research trips to African countries. In South Africa, he was instrumental in isolating the organism (thereafter called Cowdria ruminantium) which causes heartwater in animals. In Tunisia, he investigated the aetiology of malaria. In Kenya, his chief interest was yellow fever.

In 1928 Cowdry moved to St. Louis to join the Washington University School of Medicine as head of the Cytology program and co-chair of the Department of Anatomy. In 1930 he became a United States citizen. In 1939 he became director of research at Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital, and in 1941 became the formal head of the Department of Anatomy. He stepped down from this position in 1950 to become director of the Wernse Cancer Research Laboratory at the medical school. From 1960, Cowdry was professor emeritus and director emeritus of the Wernse laboratory.

Cowdry and his wife, Alice Hanford Smith (1892-1974), shared an interest in travelling. Together they visited several European countries, as well as Turkey, Lebanon, India, Taiwan, Japan, and Israel.


  • J. T. Freeman:
    Edmund Vincent Cowdry, creative gerontologist: memoir and autobiographical notes.
    The Gerontologist, December 1984, 24 (6): 641-645.
  • A. I. Lansing:
    Edmund Vincent Cowdry 1888-1975.
    The Gerontologist, Washington, DC, October 1975, 15 (5 PT 1): 477.
  • W. M. Cowan:
    Edmund Vincent Cowdry: 1888-1975.
    The Anatomical Record, Hoboken, NJ, October 1976, 186 (2): 237-239.

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