Dr. Donald L. Price, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Professor of Medicine and Alzheimer’s Disease Researcher, Dies

Dr. Donald L. Price, former professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, a giant in neuroscience and regarded as a leading authority on Alzheimer’s disease, at his home in Greenville, North Carolina, on May 5. Died of neurological disease. The former Colombian resident was 87 years old.

“Don was a giant in the field of neuroscience, and that was his focus. He was a very thoughtful person, the quintessential dazed professor excited about ideas and medicine,” said Dr. Price. Dr. Charles G. Everhart, who succeeded Dr. Charles G. Everhart as chair of the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. .

“He was bigger than life, he was physically bigger. He was a beefy guy with silver hair and he reminded me of Chip O’Neill. [Thomas P. O’Neill, former speaker of the House of Representatives]. He was a dexterous man with a heavy voice, a New Englander who always ruled the room,” Dr. Everhart said.

Dr. Lee J. Martin is Professor of Pathology at Hopkins University and a colleague of Dr. Price since the late 1980s.

“I learned of Don when he founded the Alzheimer’s Research Center at Hopkins University.

“He was a towering man, full of energy and science, and it was a great privilege to be part of it as a young investigator,” he said.

“He was a pathfinder who provided opportunities for young scientists and created lasting memories for our careers,” said Dr. Martin. “He gave everyone a chance and they wanted to work with him. He had so many trainees who went out state and around the world. It was his brand.”

Born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut, Donald Lowell Price was the son of AT&T executive William Lowell Price and homemaker and welcome wagon hostess Edith Ann Price.

Although Dr. Price graduated from King School in Stanford in 1952 and received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 1956, medicine was not his first career choice.

In college, I majored in Humanities and English and studied how poetry and psychology are linked. During the summer he played semi-professional baseball for $20 a game and traveled to the South to record folk performers.

“I wanted to be a folk singer when I grew up,” he told the Baltimore Sun in 1992. different. “

He began studying medicine at New York’s Albany Medical School with the intention of becoming a psychiatrist, but soon realized he didn’t have the “disposition” to be a psychiatrist, according to The Sun. . He became more interested in the brain’s role in abnormal behavior and pursued neurology.

He received his medical degree in 1961 from Albany and then did an internship at the New England Medical Center in Boston, where he completed his residency.

From 1963 to 1966, Dr. Price was a resident neurologist, including one year in neuropathology, and was chief resident at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Price was a neurologist at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda from 1966 to 1968 before returning to the Harvard Biological Laboratory as a research associate.

Dr. Price taught Neurology and Neuropathology at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1965 to 1969 and held a faculty position at Harvard Medical School before joining Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1971 as Associate Professor of Neurology and Pathology. I was.

From 1978 to 2010 he was Professor of Pathology and Neurology. From 1983 until 2010 he was a professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the School of Medicine.

Dr. Price served as director of the Alzheimer’s Research Center at Hopkins University School of Medicine from 1985 to 2010.

His primary research focused on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“And he made a seminal discovery,” Dr. Martin said.

In the study, Dr. Price and his colleagues created a colony of mice called “transgenic mice” in the early 1990s that were specially engineered to carry the human gene for Alzheimer’s disease. It was hoped that this would lead to the discovery of cures for degenerative diseases.

“We don’t want to oversell this, but there is tremendous value in having a small animal model that replicates the characteristics of human disease,” he explained to the Baltimore Sun in 1993. bottom. “We will have great advances not only in diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease, but also in understanding its mechanisms.”

“He was demanding, but in a very good way. He encouraged people to try harder and get better. If you were doing something new or novel, he It can be very critical and we’ll let you know about it,” Dr. Martin said.

Dr. Price has written and lectured extensively on neuroscience issues, and his work has earned him significant accolades and numerous awards, including serving on the House Science and Technology Committee on Alzheimer’s Disease in 1984.

Dr. Price had a reputation for being somewhat of a cheerful spirit.


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“Don was very outgoing and the office door was always open,” recalls Dr. Martin. “If my door was open, he would want to stop by and talk about science and literature. He would talk about Dante, or walk down Hopkins hallways reading Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky.” was doing.”

He retired in 2010.

In his private life, he was an avid reader of everything from classics to Shakespeare, according to his former wife of 67 years, Helen A. Blanchard, who worked in the field of epidemiology.

He also enjoyed listening to classical music and cycling [he once biked across the United States], running and swimming. When he was younger, he completed his Ironman triathlon.

“We spent the summer in Woodhall, Massachusetts, because there was a scientific community there,” Mrs. Price said. “He had a great brain and he could talk about anything.”

Plans for a celebration of life at Hopkins University are incomplete.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Price has two sons, Dr. Donald L. Price Jr. of Stamford, Connecticut, and Dr. William L. Price of Greenville, North Carolina. his daughter, Dr. Elaine Price Schwartz of Greenville, North Carolina; Two brothers, Dr. Richard W. Price of San Francisco and Dr. Robert E. Price of Schoharie, New York. and eight grandchildren.

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