Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Not Yet Dr. McKusick
A truly great man passed away this week. Victor McKusick.

One of the truly neat things about working at a place like Johns Hopkins, is that depending on what building your office is in, you can end up sharing the same elevator for 10 years with people who literally changed the world. Dr. McKusick was one of them. He was a true pioneer in human genetics. I had textbooks in college written by him.

His research was responsible for discovering things like the genes that controlled and caused: hemophilia, color blindness, Down's Syndrome, Marfan's syndrome, and thousands of other inherited disorders. He was the first to propose the Mapping of the Human Genome back in the 60's (when I was born!), and testified before Congress to get it funded. He truly was the Father of Medical Genetics.

He never truly "retired". He came to the office every day. He almost always had his nose buried in a book as he got on the elevator in the morning. More times than one, I had to gently tug at his sleeve and whisper, "Not yet Dr. McKusick", when the lift stopped, and fully engaged in his book, he began to get off on the wrong floor.

He won the National Medal of Science, the Lasker Prize, and many other awards and accolades, but if ever there were someone who deserved to be a Nobel Laureate - it was Victor McKusick.

He was a giant of a man in science and in life, and Hopkins has lost a legend. I was honored to have known him.
posted by Broadsheet @ 2:06 PM  
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