Joseph Roe, PhD

1956 Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry

Dr. Joseph H. Roe, professor of biochemistry and chairman of the department at the George Washington University Medical School in Washington, D. C., has been selected by the American Association of Clinical Chemists to receive the 1956 Ernst Bischoff Award for his outstanding work in clinical chemistry. The Association presents this award each year to a worker in the field who has distinguished himself by achievement and devotion and has helped solve those chemical problems which arise daily in the practice of the medical arts.

Vol. 2, No. 6, 1956 THE CLINICAL CHEMIST 449

Dr. Roe, a native of Virginia, received his B.A. at Roanoke College and an M.A. at Princeton. He joined the faculty of George Washington University after service in World War I. He received two Ph.D. degrees, one in chemistry from George Washington, the other in physiological chemistry from Yale. He served for ten years as chemist at the university hospital.

Outstanding contributions by Dr. Roe in the three major fields of clinical chemistry are basic research in body metabolism, analytical methods for the clinical laboratory, and teaching. He has published some 80 scientific papers, and has contributed particularly to our knowledge of carbohydrate metabolism, especially of fructose and glycogenesis, and of vitamin C. His name is well known to laboratory workers for his methods for determining calcium (Roe and Kahn), fructose, vitamin C (Roe and Kuether), and amylase (Roe and Smith). He has been an inspiring teacher, commanding the respect and admiration of his students.

From the Capital Section bio for Dr. Roe:

Dr. Joseph H. Roe received doctorates in chemistry and biochemistry. He was on staff in the School of Medicine at George Washington University from 1919 until his death. He was highly regarded in the biomedical community as a teacher and a scholar. He recognized the importance of accurate methods before investigations could be undertaken in the fields of nutrition, metabolism, and diagnostic medicine. He made significant contributions in the fields of carbohydrate metabolism and clinical biochemistry. The Roe-Keuther procedure for the quantification of ascorbic acid in biological tissues and fluids was widely used by the World Health Organization to determine the effects of food shortages on the people of Western Europe and whether widespread scurvy was imminent. Dr. Roe published over 115 research papers; many were assay procedures for analytes. He was the author of Principles of Chemistry, an introductory textbook for students in allied health fields. Dr. Roe received numerous awards, among them the the Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine (formerly AACC) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in 1956. He was to receive the Capital Section's award for outstanding achievement in clinical chemistry in 1967, but died just four weeks before it was to be presented. In accepting the award for Dr. Roe, Dr. Miriam Reiner said, "We will always remember him for his loyal friendship and his many acts of kindness. He was a great teacher and a good friend. He was truly a scientist, a scholar, and a gentleman. We will all miss him." This award was re-named the Joseph H. Roe award in his honor.

You can read more about Dr. Roe in a biographical sketch "Joseph H. Roe (1892-1967): American Man of Science, Pioneer Clinical Chemist" by Eugene W. Rice, Clinical Chemistry, 1984, Vol. 30, pages 1575-8.