Harvard Public Health Review Winter 2007
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Leaders worth folowing: HSPH celebrates distinguished faculty and alumni
Elkan Blout, former dean for academic affairs at HSPH and a leading contributor to the development of instant film, died on December 20, 2006. His revolutionary work in chemistry illuminated the complex structure of proteins, a critical step toward understanding their function. For this work, in 1990 he received the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest scientific honor, from President George H.W. Bush.

Blout arrived at Harvard Medical School (HMS) in 1950 as a research associate in pathology. He was promoted to the rank of professor within the Department of Biological Chemistry 12 years later, and served as chair from 1965 to 1969. Blout joined the HSPH faculty in 1978 as dean for academic affairs. During his Harvard tenure he established the Office for Continuing Education and also chaired the Department of Environmental Science and Physiology. In 1986, he helped combine HSPH’s laboratory sciences under a single Division of Biological Sciences and, for the next five years, served as its director. Before Blout’s retirement, in 1991, two professorships were named in his honor—one at HSPH, the other at HMS.

Blout was elected to many prestigious scientific organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the USSR Academy of Sciences.

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