Hymen S. Mayerson

35th APS President (1962-1963)
Hymen S. Mayerson

Hymen Samuel Mayerson became president in July 1962. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he received his education at Brown University (A.B., 1922) and Yale (Ph.D., 1925). After a year as instructor in physiology, he went to the Department of Physiology at Tulane University in 1926. He remained there with increasing responsibilities and rank, serving as chairman from 1945 until his retirement in 1965. After retirement from the university, he served for ten years as Associate Director for Research and Education of Touro Infirmary, a large hospital in New Orleans.

Mayerson is best known for his research on lymphatic and capillary function, especially the factors influencing movement of macromolecules (protein) from plasma to lymph and the consequences of this process.

Mayerson was elected to APS in 1928. Before his election as president elect in 1961, he had served on Council since 1957. Also he served on the Editorial Board of Physiological Reviews (1958-61) and on the Education Committee (1959-61). For this latter committee, he developed and operated a Visiting Scientist Program in Mississippi and Texas that was judged a great success. During his presidency, the APS offices were moved from Beaumont House to the newly built office building on the Beaumont campus (later named the Milton O. Lee Building), Physiology for Physicians began publication, and plans were underway for publication of the Society's history and the celebration of the Society's seventy-fifth anniversary at the fall meeting in Coral Gables, Florida. At that meeting, Mayerson gave a humorous past president's address on physiologists in the gay nineties. Quoting E. C. Andrus, Mayerson introduced the since oft-repeated phrase, "There is nothing that gets paster faster than a past president." After serving as APS president, he took office as president of FASEB (1963-64). Other service to the Society included the International Physiology Committee (1961-66), the Finance Committee (1964-67; chairman, 1965-67), and the Senior Physiologists Committee (1971-80; chairman, 1977-80).

In 1979 Mayerson was honored by a symposium in his name on capillary permeability and mechanisms of transport at the APS Fall Meeting in New Orleans. Mayerson, who was unable to attend because of illness, contributed a paper entitled "A Chance to Reminisce" which he began, "Fellow capillarians and lymphomaniacs-greetings!" He briefly reviewed the background of his own contributions to the subject with appropriate and charming reference to the work of his colleagues. Mayerson is remembered as an excellent teacher, with an unflappable demeanor and wonderful sense of humor, who was always read to give of himself for others.

Selected Publications

1. Fenn, W. O. History of the American Physiological Society: The Third Quarter Century, 1937-1962. Washington, DC: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1963, p. 53-54.

2. Mayerson, H. S. Physiology and physiologists in the gay nineties. Physiologist 6: 328- 348, 1963.

3. Mayerson, H. S. A time to reminisce. Physiologist 23(1): 41-43, 1980.

4. Taylor, A. E. Dr. Mayerson, the scientist. Physiologist 23(1): 38-40, 1980.

5. Wasserman, K. Professor H. S. Mayerson, Ph.D. - the man. Physiologist 23(1): 35-37, 1980.

6. Wasserman, K. 35th President, Hymen Samuel Mayerson (1900-1985). Physiologist 29: 197, 1986.