There are three endowed lectures given annually by outstanding scientists in the areas of the Biophysics of Excitable Membranes and Membrane Transport. The lectures honor three distinguished scientists who are former members of the faculty of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology.
- Louis H. Nahum
- Robert W. Berliner
- Peter F. Curran
Louis H. Nahum Lectures
Louis H. Nahum, M.D., born in Lithuania, moved with his family to Hartford, CT at the age of three. He obtained both his undergraduate and medical degree from Yale. He was a house officer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and thereafter obtained subspecialty training in Cardiology at the Rockefeller Institute with Dr. Alfred Kohn. He returned to New Haven hoping to start a cardiac clinic at Yale. However, he was quickly rebuffed by then Dean Milton Winternitz, who felt that there was no heart specialty, only medicine. This rejection proved to be a boon for Yale’s Physiology Department. Dr. Nahum turned to Harold Himwich, the Professor of Physiology, to start part-time work in the Physiology Laboratory in 1928. He would start his day at seven in the morning in the laboratory, while keeping his private practice going during the day and at night. With Harold Himwich, Louis Nahum reported in 1929 that glucose is the primary fuel of the brain, which constituted a major contribution to our understanding of cerebral metabolism. After Himwich left Yale, Louis Nahum set up his own laboratory, where he studied the causal role of the autonomic nervous system in various cardiac arrhythmias. He became a consultant in medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Hospital of St. Raphael, the Griffin Hospital, the Middlesex Hospital and the Milford Hospital. He became a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Council in Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association.
Dr. Nahum’s contributions to education were numerous. He taught a graduate course in cardiovascular physiology, which he continued even after becoming Lecturer emeritus in physiology. After World War II he was one of a group of founders who created a new medical school in the Bronx, and it was Dr. Nahum who convinced Dr. Albert Einstein that it would be appropriate for the new medical school to carry his name. After the medical school opened in 1955, Dr. Nahum was a guest lecturer in Physiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine for more than a decade. As Editor of Connecticut Medicine, Dr. Nahum received great acclaim from his physician colleagues for his editorials. Even at the age of 79 he wrote medical, scientific and sociological editorials that were gems of distillation of the essentials gleaned from recent medical literature and events.
A very gentle man with a bit of old-world courtliness, Dr. Nahum watched over the musical career of his wife Stella with great attention and love. For many years after the death of Louis Nahum, Mrs. Nahum attended the departmental Louis H. Nahum Memorial Lecture in the general area of cardiovascular physiology. The Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology is extremely grateful for the on-going involvement and support of the Nahum family.
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