Ernest Beutler: his life and contribution to medical science

Br J Haematol. 2011 Mar;152(5):543-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2010.08542.x. Epub 2011 Jan 17.


Ernest Beutler was one of the preeminent haematologists of the last half of the 20th and the early 21st century. In a career that spanned six decades, his research interests included such diverse areas as red cell metabolism, blood preservation, glycolipid storage diseases, leukaemias and iron metabolism. Indeed, he was quite different from most of his contemporaries in that his knowledge encompassed not only haematology and not only the medical sciences, but the biological sciences as a whole. He was among the first to describe X chromosome inactivation, and he established the critical link between glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and drug-induced haemolysis. He was a skilled and innovative clinician, and an early advocate of bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of acute leukaemia. He was a prolific author, with over 800 publications; a long time member of the Editorial Board of Blood; founder of the journal Blood Cells Molecules and Diseases; and an editor of Williams Haematology from the time of its inception. He bequeathed $1 million to the American Society of Haematology to recognise and reward outstanding basic research and its clinical application: a pursuit to which he had committed his life. Indeed, he became an extraordinary exemplar of the bench-to-bedside ethos, which holds that even today, an MD researcher, working with limited means and independent of pharmaceutical companies, can have a great impact on the practice of medicine.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / history
  • Germany
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency / history
  • Hematologic Diseases / genetics
  • Hematologic Diseases / history*
  • Hematology / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • X Chromosome Inactivation

Personal name as subject

  • Ernest Beutler