Robert Schaffer, PhD

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 It may contain other out-of-date information as well.

1979 Outstanding Contributions in a Selected Area of Research

Robert Schaffer will receive the seventh AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area, sponsored by Biodynamics/bmc.

Dr. Schaffer was born in Brooklyn, NY, in March 1920. He received a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1943, completing his studies in the Evening College while working in a small company on steroid hormone synthesis. In the U.S. Army, he served at Los Alamos (1944–46), where he worked on plutonium chemistry and bioanalysis. At Washington University, St. Louis, MO, where he received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry and at the National Bureau of Standards, Washington, DC, his research was on the synthesis and use of carbohydrates position-labeled with carbon-14 and on the synthesis and structure analysis of branched-chain and higher sugars. As chief of the Organic Chemistry Section at NBS in 1966, he redirected its work to clinical chemistry (the Section was later renamed Bioorganic Standards.) He organized the program that led to the Bureau’s initial clinical Standard Reference Materials, the program on isotope dilution mass spectrometry for developing definitive methods for organic chemicals, and the program for developing Reference Methods for several electrolytes in serum. He received the Silver Medal Award of the Department of Commerce “for major contributions to organic chemical research and the successful organization of an important standards program.” He is an author of more than 70 scientific papers.

Dr. Schaffer became a member of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) in 1970 (the first from NBS). He has served on the Committee on Standards as a member, but now serves as consultant. He is a member of several of the Committee’s study groups, developing reference methods. He has been a member of the editorial board of Selected Methods of Clinical Chemistry and is now on the editorial board of Clinical Chemistry. He was a member of the NAS/NRC Committee on Phototherapy in the Newborn and the IFCC Expert Panel on Bilirubin. He served on the Board of Directors of the NCCLS and was chairman of its Area Committee for Clinical Chemistry. He continues as a member of the latter committee and of several of its subcommittees that are working to develop clinical chemical standards.