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Edward Mellanby

Born: 8-Apr-1884
Birthplace: West Hartlepool, England
Died: 30-Jan-1955
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor, Scientist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Rickets

British physician, pharmacologist, and scientist Edward Mellanby conducted research that established the role of vitamin D deficiency in rickets, though Vitamin D had not yet been discovered. He was teaching at King's College for Women in London when he began his study of the disease, a childhood malady characterized by softening of the bones. By 1919, his work had shown that dogs developed rickets if kept indoors and fed a restricted diet, but recovered quickly if cod liver oil was added to their diet. He concluded that a dietary element, a fat-soluble factor, was the key to preventing and curing rickets. Later research showed that the mystery element in Mellanby's experiment was Vitamin D, which can be absorbed through diet or from sunlight (which the dogs had been denied).

In other research, he showed that Vitamin A influences the development of bones, and established that agenized bread can cause of hysteria in dogs. His wife, physiologist May Mellanby, conducted research that helped establish how decaying or broken teeth are "remineralized" and restrengthened, if sufficient nutrients are present in the patient's diet. Mellanby served as Secretary of the UK's Medical Research Council, and remained active in research even after his retirement in 1949. In 1951 he helped establish the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India, where he served as the Institute's first Director. After a second retirement, he died in his London laboratory in 1955.

Father: John Mellanby (shipyard owner, b. 1855)
Mother: Mary Isabella Lawson
Brother: John Mellanby (physiologist at Oxford)
Brother: Alexander Mellandy (engineer at Glasgow)
Wife: May Tweedy Mellanby (physiologist, m. 1914, d. 1978)

    High School: Barnard Castle School, County Durham, England
    University: BS Physiology, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University (1905)
    Scholar: Physiology, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University (1905-07)
    Medical School: MD, St. Thomas's Hospital, London, UK (1915)
    Lecturer: Physiology, King's College London (1913-20)
    Professor: Pharmacology, University of Sheffield (1920-33)

    UK Official Secretary, Medical Research Council (1933-49)
    Indian Official Director, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India (1951-52)
    Royal Medal (1932)
    Knighthood Order of the Bath (1937)
    Royal Society's Buchanan Medal (1947)
    Officer of the British Empire (1948)
    Royal College of Physicians
    Royal Society (1925)
    English Ancestry
    Heart Attack 30-Jan-1955 (fatal)

Author of books:
Nutrition and Disease (1934)


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