Seymour Kety by Irwin J. Kopin.doc - 1 SEYMOUR S KETY...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 21 pages.

SEYMOUR S. KETY Interviewed by Irwin J. Kopin San Juan, Puerto Rico, December 12, 1995 IK: I’m here to interview one of my major mentors in science, Dr. Seymour Kety. Dr. Kety was born in Philadelphia, went to Central High School and to the University of Pennsylvania. He had training in Boston with Joseph Aub, went back to the University of Pennsylvania where he made some major contributions to studies of blood flow to the brain, then came to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), first as the scientific director of what was then precursor of two different institutes, called the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which at that time included the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness (NINDB), among other things. Somewhere around 1956, he stepped down from his post as scientific director, to lead the Laboratory of Clinical Science. The Laboratory of Clinical Science has spawned some of the last century’s greatest scientists, including Nobel Prize winner Julie Axelrod and many members of the National Academy of Sciences, and was the spawning ground of at least half the psychiatrists in the United States who were interested in biological psychiatry. I regard, and I think everyone else does, Dr. Seymour Kety as the father of biological psychiatry in this country, if not in the world, and it’s indeed a pleasure to have an opportunity to elicit some of his early memories of his science and the major contributions he’s made over these many years. Seymour, can you tell us how you got started from your early years, during internship and research on lead poisoning; how did that lead to your later research? You went to Boston with this background, but soon you returned to the University of Pennsylvania; tell us about that. SK: I got interested in lead poisoning because I had a summer job with a biochemist and toxicologist in Philadelphia who was doing a project for the lead industry, in which it was necessary to analyze the urine of men who worked with lead. I was given the job of analyzing the urine, and in the analysis one used sodium citrate to dissolve the insoluble lead compounds. It occurred to me that maybe sodium citrate would be useful in the Seymour S. Kety was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1915. Kety died in 2000. 1
treatment of lead poisoning. And when I was in medical school, I tested that possibility for a paper at a Student Research Day by feeding rats food contaminated with lead, and then giving them water with sodium citrate added. Then, analyzing their urine and comparing that to the urine before they had sodium citrate, we found that the urine lead content went way up with the sodium citrate. Then, when I was an intern at Philadelphia General, I spent my evenings doing studies in the laboratory there and one of the studies I concentrated on was an examination of the lead citrate complex. I published my first paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry , which was a characterization of the lead citrate complex. Later,

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture