Eugene M. Landis
25th APS President (1952-1953)
Eugene M. Landis
Eugene Markley Landis took office in July 1952 and presided at the fall meeting in New Orleans in 1952 and at the spring meeting in Chicago in 1953. He served as a member of Council from 1947 to 1951.
Born in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Landis received his A.B. (1922), M.S. (1924), M.D. (1926), and Ph.D. (1927) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a National Research Council Fellow (1926-27) and a Guggenheim Fellow (1929-31), working with Thomas Lewis in London and August Krogh in Copenhagen, and then held various research and faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania (1931-39). He was elected to APS in 1928. In 1939 he became professor of internal medicine at the University of Virginia, but in 1943 he left to succeed Walter B. Cannon as George Higginson Professor of Physiology at the Harvard Medical School, where he remained until his retirement in 1967. From 1967 to 1971 he was adjunct professor of biology at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Landis's career mirrors his broad interests from fundamental biology to clinical medicine. His scientific accomplishments were many, mostly dealing with the cardiovascular system. He was the first directly to measure capillary pressure and make observations on the flow of water through capillary walls.
As president of APS he was the first to adopt measures against racial segregation at Society meetings. He served as chairman of a Society Committee on Loyalty, Clearance and Academic Freedom and dealt in a conservative manner with the then-explosive issue of animal research. He was responsible for several initiatives that became traditions. During his presidency the first APS newsletter (later The Physiologist) was issued. At the spring meeting after his last Council meeting as president, he entertained Council members at dinner and presented to his successor a gavel made with his own hands. The gavel, still in use today at Society business meetings, was made from wood historically associated with Henry P. Bowditch and Walter B. Cannon. It was later encased in a box, designed by Louis N. Katz, from wood associated with A. J. Carlson and Carl J. Wiggers, to which Hallowell Davis subsequently attached metal discs associated with Joseph Erlanger and Herbert S. Glasser.
1. Fenn, W. O. History of the American Physiological Society: The Third Quarter Century, 1937-1962. Washington, DC: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1963, p. 26-29.
2. Landis, E. M. APS and youth. Physiologist 7: 3-5, 1964.
3. Pappenheimer, J. R., and A. C. Barger. Eugene Markley Landis. Physiologist 24(1): 1- 2, 1981.