April 26, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 15

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    Theodore Pullman, expert on kidney function, dies at age 82

    An expert on kidney function, Theodore Pullman, a research associate in the thyroid study unit at the University and a former Professor in Medicine at the University, died at his Hyde Park home, Thursday, Feb. 8. He was 82.

    An authority on the effects of hormones on fluid and electrolyte metabolism and on how the kidneys handle small proteins, Pullman made significant contributions in three different fields during his career. He played an important role in the 1940s in the development of new drugs for malaria, he contributed in the 1950s and 1960s to understanding kidney function, and while in his 70s, well after his retirement, he was co-author of several papers on the molecular biology of the thyroid.

    “He was a brilliant scientist, an astute and careful clinician, and a teacher who inspired awe in his students,” recalled kidney specialist Adrian Katz, Professor in Medicine, whom Pullman had recruited. “His research helped in the understanding of the regulation of blood flow within the kidney, which had important implications for diseases such as hypertension.”

    “He was someone who was absolutely trustworthy, who set very high standards for himself and for others,” said Richard Landau, Professor Emeritus in Medicine and a long-time friend of Pullman’s. “This made him a splendid teacher but a challenging one if you were not prepared. The students called him ‘Terrible Ted.’”

    “He enjoyed research so much that he continued to come to our laboratory meetings until just a few months ago,” said Samuel Refetoff, Professor in Medicine and Director of the Thyroid Study Unit, where Pullman focused his energies after retirement. “Ted Pullman brought a vast knowledge of chemistry and biochemistry that made him extremely valuable to the lab and a great help to the students, who miss him a great deal.”

    Pullman won many honors and awards, including fellowships with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American College of Physicians. He served as president of the Chicago Society for Internal Medicine, chairman of the Kidney Disease Foundation of Illinois, chairman of the research committee for the Chicago Heart Association and a member of the executive board for the American Heart Association’s council on circulation.

    He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Marjorie Pullman.