2009 DeLee Humanitarian Award goes to Marshall Lindheimer, MD, of the University of Chicago

February 23, 2009

An internationally recognized authority on kidney disease and hypertension during pregnancy, Marshall D. Lindheimer, MD, professor emeritus in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and of Medicine and in the Committee on Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics at the University of Chicago, will receive the 2009 Joseph Bolivar DeLee Humanitarian Award from the Board of Directors of Chicago Lying-in Hospital, part of the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The award will be presented at the board's annual dinner on Saturday evening, March 7, 2009, at the Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Court, Chicago.

Named after Joseph Bolivar DeLee, MD, a pioneer in the field of obstetrics and founder of the Chicago Lying-in Hospital, the award is presented annually to an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the health care of women and infants.

Previous winners include Lasker Award-winner Elwood V. Jensen, PhD; human genetics pioneer Mary-Claire King, PhD; M. Jocelyn Elders, MD, the first African American appointed as Surgeon General of the United States; Robert G. Edwards PhD, the scientist who made in-vitro fertilization possible; as well as Georgeanna Seegar Jones, MD, and Howard W. Jones, MD, who opened the first successful in-vitro fertilization clinic in the United States.

"Marshall Lindheimer has changed the way we think about the kidney during pregnancy," said Arthur Haney, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago. "He brought a new level of rigor to the study of hypertension, especially during pregnancy, and in the process has taught us all a lot about how the kidney responds to the unusual physical stresses related to reproduction. He is also a devoted clinician, sought after by other physicians for his expertise in medical problems during pregnancy."

One of the world's leading authorities on kidney function, blood pressure control, and water-level maintenance during pregnancy, Lindheimer is widely known for his research on preeclampsia, a form of hypertension that remains a leading cause of maternal and fetal mortality worldwide.

In collaboration with Adrian Katz he described how the kidney reabsorbs the large increases in filtered sodium during pregnancy. With another University of Chicago colleague, Edward Ehrlich, Lindheimer elucidated the roles of the hormones aldosterone and progesterone in sodium and potassium regulation during pregnancy.

Working with John Davison, of Newcastle upon Tyne University, England, Lindheimer mapped out how regulation of the hormone vasopressin affected fluid retention during pregnancy. Understanding this process led them to predict the existence of an as-yet-unrecognized disease, now known as "transient diabetes insipidus during pregnancy." After finding such patients they were able to treat them.

More recently, Lindheimer focused on clinical trials and translational studies designed to prevent preeclampsia, such as a large multicenter randomized trials testing low-dose aspirin and supplemental dietary calcium to prevent this disease. He also was involved in a large observational trial centered in underdeveloped nations to determine if measuring circulating antiangiogenic proteins could predict preeclampsia.

"By bringing the subject of the kidney and pregnancy to the attention of internists and obstetricians in a readable and comprehensible way, and by his own contributions to our collective base of knowledge, he has made an outstanding contribution that has directly impacted the care of patients with renal disease and changed the clinical practice of nephrology," said Arthur Herbst, MD, Joseph B. DeLee Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago.

The author of more than 250 original articles, 115 chapters and 7 edited texts, Lindheimer's contributions have earned him several honors, including the Chesley Award for Research in Hypertension in Pregnancy, a Lifetime of Service award from the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, a Lifetime of Advocacy award from the Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Belding Scribner Award from the American Society of Nephrology. He and his wife, Jacqueline celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary last November.

The DeLee Award is presented each year by the Chicago Lying-in Hospital Board of Directors, which supports programs to advance education, research and patient care relating to women's and infants' health at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Joseph Bolivar DeLee was a leading advocate for greater safety in childbirth. His concern for women in labor led him to open a small dispensary on Chicago's Maxwell Street in 1895, which became known as the Chicago Lying-in Hospital and Dispensary. The facility and its services grew in size and reputation. In 1931, DeLee opened the 140-bed Chicago Lying-in Hospital on the Medical Center campus and became the first chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago.

Chicago Lying-in board members Lee and Arthur Herbst will serve as honorary chair for the annual dinner. Jenny L. Whitlock and Marjorie E. Sherman serve as chair and co-chair. For more information about the dinner, call (773) 702.9642 or email: jwhitloc@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu

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