Virgil Preston Sydenstricker


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Virgil P. Sydenstricker  (1889–1964)  A Giant in American Medicine
(abstracted from a short biography by Elaine B. Feldman © 2001 The American Society for Nutritional Science 022-3166/01 $3.00 © 2001 American Society for Nutritional Sciences. J. Nutr. 131: 2231–2234, 2001

  • Dr. Sydenstricker was the epitome of a physician-scientist, a nutrition specialist, clinical investigator, and medical academician. He was outstanding in research, education and service for more than 30 years, … a pioneer in the area of nutritional deficiency diseases… whose work extended nationally and in Europe, both as a civilian and in the military.

  • B.A. and M.A. Washington and Lee University (1910 , 1911)
    • M.D. Johns Hopkins (1915) As a medical student he co-authored studies with Nobel Prize winner, G. H. Whipple.
  • Medicine Residency
    • Johns Hopkins University 
    • Medical Division, University of Georgia, Augusta, GA 1919-20
  • Chair Department of Medicine Medical Collage of Georgia 1922-57
    • (Mandatory retirement, 1957)
    • Continued as Prof Emeritus & Chief of Medicine at AVAH, until his death
  • Active and Productive Researcher; Just a few examples indicated below):
    • As an intern he developed a system of blood transfusions with stored, citrated blood, that enabled blood to be “banked”; forming the basis for modem day blood banking and blood transfusions
    • As a faculty member, he demonstrated the efficacy of niacin in the prevention and cure of pellagra AND he described the clinical manifestations of riboflavin and other vitamin deficiencies; and how replacements cured them. 
    • He was also involved in identifying the pathophysiology of refeeding to semi-starved individuals, during WWII, leading to current concepts of the requirement for essential amino acids. in health and disease.
    • Dr. Sydenstricker gave many national and international honorary lectures, and he received, numerous awards, including the prestigious: Goldberger Award in Clinical Nutrition, from the American Medical Association
    • He was an Outstanding Educator, with numerous accolades from students and trainees over his illustrious career at the Medical College of Georgia.
    • To quote Mrs. Feldman: “ He spent his life, in a continuing effort, to bring knowledge and ability - to the future physicians of Georgia. He was a role model, who provided compassionate and excellent care to his patients”
  • In 1979, the then new wing of the MCG Hospital was named for him.