F. William Sunderman, MD

In July 2023, we changed our name from AACC (short for the American Association for Clinical Chemistry) to the Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (ADLM). The following page was written prior to this rebranding and contains mentions of the association’s old name. It may contain other out-of-date information as well.

1978 Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry

F. William Sunderman, Jr. will receive the 1978 AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry through Research, sponsored by the Ames Company. This will be the 27th year that this award has been presented.

Dr. Sunderman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1931. He received his B.S. degree from Emory University, Atlanta, in 1952, and his M.D. degree from Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, in 1955. After internship and postdoctoral training in laboratory medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Sunderman served in the U.S. Navy as Chief of the Clinical Chemistry Service at the Naval Medical School in Bethesda, Maryland (1958–60). Dr. Sunderman has held the following positions: Director of Clinical Chemistry Laboratory, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda (1960); Associate in Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia (1961–64); Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville (1964–68); and Professor and Head of the Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington (1968 to date). Dr. Sunderman has been certified in Clinical Chemistry by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and in Clinical Pathology by the American Board of Pathology.

Dr. Sunderman has worked for AACC in many capacities. He has served as chairman of the Connecticut Valley Section, the Education Committee, and the Foreign Relations Committee, and he has been a member of the Standards Committee, the Professional Relations Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Council, and the Board of Directors. He has also been active in other professional organizations, including the Association of Clinical Scientists, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, American Association for Cancer Research, and Society of Toxicology. Dr. Sunderman is a member of several editorial boards, including Clinical Chemistry, the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science, and Analytical Toxicology.

He has served as a member of the Study Sections on Medicinal Chemistry and Pathology of the National Institutes of Health, and as a member of the Committee on Medical and Biological Effects of Environmental Pollutants of the National Academy of Sciences. On the international scene, Dr. Sunderman has served as the national representative of AACC to the IFCC, as a member of the IFCC Standards Committee and the IUPAC Section on Clinical Chemistry, and as a chairman of the IUPAC Commission on Toxicology.

Dr. Sunderman’s research has been in the fields of clinical chemistry, endocrinology, metabolism, toxicology, and carcinogenesis. He is best known for studies of atomic absorption spectrometry, vanilmandelic acid, serum proteins, ceruloplasmin, and nickel metabolism. He has been an author of more than 150 scientific papers, and he has been editor and co-author of 10 books in the field of laboratory medicine. In 1976, Dr. Sunderman was honored by the Association of Clinical Scientists as “Clinical Scientist of the Year.”

1981 Outstanding Contributions in Education

F. William Sunderman will receive the 1981 AACC Award for Outstanding Efforts in Education and Training, sponsored by SmithKline Clinical Laboratories. This is the 11th such award.

Dr. Sunderman was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He received his B.S. degree from Gettysburg College in 1919 and an Sc.D. (honorary) in 1952; and from the University of Pennsylvania the following degrees: M.D. in 1923; M.S., 1927; and Ph.D., 1929. Dr. Sunderman served a rotating residency at the Pennsylvania Hospital from 1923 to 1925; as Assistant Physician, 1925–1935; Physician, 1935–1947; Ayer Clinic Laboratory, Director of the Chemistry Division, 1929–1933; and chief of the Diabetic and Metabolic Clinic, 1929–1949. He became affiliated with the Department of Research Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1925–1947 in the dual capacity of associate professor of research medicine and chief of the Chemistry Division of the William Pepper Laboratory. During World War II, Dr. Sunderman was the medical director of the Explosive Research Laboratories at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Bureau of Mines, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Following the war, he set up the medical department at Brookhaven National Laboratory and served as its acting medical director, 1947–1948.

Dr. Sunderman has held a number of academic positions in addition to those at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1948, he was professor and head of the Department of Clinical Pathology and director of laboratories at Temple University Medical School. From 1948–1949, he was head of the Department of Clinical Pathology at the Cleveland Clinic. In 1949, he served briefly as professor of research medicine at the University of Texas and director of clinical research at the M. D. Anderson Hospital in Houston. From 1949–1951, he served as chief of clinical pathology at the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta and also held the positions of director of laboratories at Grady Memorial Hospital and professor of clinical medicine at Emory University Medical School.

Dr. Sunderman founded a monthly self-audit and advisory Proficiency Testing Service in 1949, the first quality-control service offered to hospitals and clinical laboratories in the United States. The service is still in operation.

Dr. Sunderman returned to Philadelphia in 1951 to become director of the Division of Metabolic Research and clinical professor of medicine and attending physician at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College and Hospital. In 1971, he became affiliated with Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital as professor of pathology and director of the Institute for Clinical Science—positions he still holds. Dr. Sunderman has served as a consultant for several organization, including the Los Alamos Laboratory; Redstone Arsenal, Army Ordnance, Huntsville, AL; and medical advisor to the Rohm and Haas Company.

Dr. Sunderman is a diplomate of the American Board of Pathology and later became a trustee and then life trustee of the Board. He has also been certified by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Sunderman is a member of many scientific organizations. He is a past president of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists; a past president of the Association of Clinical Scientists and, as director of education, is a permanent member of its executive committee. He was a founding governor of the College of American Pathologists and initiated the quality-control program for the College. He has served as a member or chairman of many panels, study sections, and committees of governmental and civilian councils, institutes, and societies. He is an emeritus member of AACC, having joined in 1952.

Some of the awards presented to Dr. Sunderman have been the Naval Ordnance Development Award; Certificate of Appreciation from the War Department; Medal of Honor from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology; (a) Distinguished Alumnus Award and (b) the Alumni Meritorious Service Award of Gettysburg College; (a) Ward Burdick Award and (b) the Continuing Education Distinguished Service Silver Platter Award from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists; Pathologist-of-the-Year Award from the College of American Pathology; (a) Clinical-Scientist-of-the-Year Award and (b) Gold-Headed Cane Award from the Association of Clinical Scientists; bestowal of honorary fellowship in the British Association of Clinical Biochemists; and presentation of a commendation plaque and honored fellowship in the Society of Pharmacologists and Environmental Pathologists. This past year, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Dr. Sunderman has published approximately 300 papers and authored 28 medical books and manuals. Three of his books have been translated into Japanese and one into Italian. Dr. Sunderman served as associate editor of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology from 1940 to 1950 and as a member of the editorial board from 1937 to 1977. Since the founding of the Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science in 1971, Dr. Sunderman has served as the editor-in-chief. He is a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and a consulting editor of the American Journal of Occupational Medicine.

Dr. Sunderman’s investigative work has included basic and clinical biochemical studies in the fields of electrolyte metabolism, of the colligative properties of biological fluids, and in conductivity and refractometry. In recent years, he has published extensively on the toxicology of trace metals, particularly nickel and nickel carbonyl poisoning.