Walter Eugene Garrey

16th APS President (1938-1939)
Walter Eugene Garrey

Walter E. Garrey, president of APS during its Semicentennial Celebration in Baltimore in 1938, was born in Wisconsin and received his initial training in physiology with Jacques Loeb at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1900. In 1899 he assisted Loeb in organizing the first course in physiology at Woods Hole and remained an instructor in the course until 1925. Garrey continued his training in Berlin and Paris and received a medical degree at Rush in 1909. He was a member of the faculties of Cooper Medical College, later incorporated into Stanford University (1900-10), of Washington University, St. Louis (1910-12), and of Tulane (1912-25) before becoming professor of physiology at Vanderbilt University from 1925 until his retirement in 1944. He spent almost all his summers at Woods Hole and served as a trustee of the Marine Biological Laboratory from 1920 to 1944.

Garrey's research covered a wide range of subjects, including artificial parthenogenesis, salt balance and tropisms, mammalian cardiac fibrillation (he was said to be first to describe clearly the phenomenon), and the action of the vagi on the heart. He advanced a theory of inhibition of nerve cells, investigated the rhythm of the neurogenic heart of the Limulus, studied parathyroid tetany, and carried out a study of adaptation of salivary secretion to diet.

Elected a member of APS in 1910, Garrey served as a member of Council in 1915-16 and 1924- 28 before his election to the presidency. He served on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Physiology from 1936 to 1945 as expert in the fields of blood and general physiology. F. P. Knowlton described him as a man who stood "tall and erect." "With his head of white hair he was a noteworthy figure in any gathering. A somewhat gruff exterior covered a friendly and sympathetic personality."

Selected Publications

1. Anonymous. Walter E. Garrey, 1874-1951. Physiologist 16: 1-2, 1973.

2. Howell, W. H., and C. W. Greene. History of the American Physiological Society Semicentennial, 1887-1937. Baltimore, MD: Am. Physiol. Soc., 1938, p. 173-174.

3. Knowlton, F. P. Walter Eugene Garrey. Biol. Bull. 103: 13-14, 1952.