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AACC award for outstanding contributions to clinical chemistry, sponsored by Bayer Diagnostics.

AACC award recipients, 2002

Theodore Peters, Jr., PhD, DABCC, FACB, developed a fascination with chemistry as a young boy in Chambersburg, PA, watching his physician father perform Fehling tests for urinary sugar and hanging around the back room of the nearby apothecary. He graduated summa cum laude from Lehigh University in chemical engineering and, after serving as a submarine radar officer during World War II, obtained a PhD in biological chemistry from Harvard. After holding faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and Harvard Medical School, interspersed with another 2 years of naval service in the Korean War, he arrived in 1955 at The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, a teaching hospital in Cooperstown, NY, where he has remained ever since.

His position at the Bassett Hospital was that of Research Biochemist, and he was free to pursue projects of his own interest. These centered on plasma proteins, particularly serum albumin, which he had encountered serendipitously and which became the focus of his doctoral thesis. He was the first to show the production of a specific protein by liver slices and defined the intracellular pathway by which newly formed albumin reaches the circulation. Dr. Roberta G. Reed joined the research group in 1973, and together they studied the structure of albumin, including the important sites that transport long-chain fatty acids and bilirubin.

As the only chemist at the Bassett Hospital, Dr. Peters began managing the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory in 1955. Eager, even desperate, for help in the clinical field, he was delighted when the late Dr. Royden N. Rand of Rochester recruited him in founding the Upstate New York Section of AACC. The original group of seven became his close friends and were always available to answer queries and offer suggestions by telephone. He took his turn as Chairman of the Section in 1963-1964 and has continued to keep up with its activities.

Dr. Peters became involved in national AACC affairs when he innocently wrote to Dr. George N. Bowers, then Chairman of the Standards Committee, noting that there might be better ways to standardize the measurement of total serum protein than the Kjeldahl procedure. He promptly found himself chairman of a subcommittee, which in time established a standard biuret method for total protein along with a Standard Reference Material (SRM) of highly pure bovine albumin. This procedure and its SRM were subsequently adopted by the NCCLS and remain the primary standard for plasma protein analysis. He soon became chairman of the AACC Standards Committee and of the NCCLS Area Committee for Clinical Chemistry and, in 1977, received the AACC Award for Research in the Area of Plasma Proteins.


From 1970 until 1984, Dr. Peters served on the Board of Editors of Clinical Chemistry; he was Chairman of this Board for 3 years. He has served on the AACC Awards Committee, the Committee for Science, the Archives Committee, and two National Meeting Committees; he has also served as a Director, as National Secretary, and in 1988, as AACC President. During his term as President, he visited more than two-thirds of the Local Sections, promoted increased communication with individual AACC members and with Local Sections, and encouraged closer ties between AACC and the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB), the Canadian Society for Clinical Chemistry, and the American College of Pathologists. His idea of AACC is a family of friends who call any member by his or her first name and can freely call each other for advice.

Dr. Peters has been Chairman of the Food and Drug Administration Clinical Chemistry Classification Panel and has served on other panels with the National Bureau of Standards and the Committee on Blood Fractionation. He has held appointments as Adjunct Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Columbia University and as Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry and of Pathology at Albany Medical College. His work in both basic research and clinical chemistry has led to more than 125 publications and, following his retirement to emeritus status in 1988, to the publication in 1996 of a single-author book, All about Albumin: Biochemistry, Genetics, and Medical Applications (Academic Press), which is currently in its second printing.

Compiled by David E. Bruns, Editor (
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Title Annotation:The Clinical Chemist
Author:Bruns, David E.
Publication:Clinical Chemistry
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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