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The A.J. Ladman AAA/Wiley Exemplary Service Award is jointly presented by the American Association of Anatomists and John Wiley and Sons, Inc., Publishers. This award is presented to a member who has distinguished himself or herself in the field of anatomy and who has provided exemplary service to the Association. The recipient of the Exemplary Service Award for 2001 is Dr. David G. Whitlock, who is the former Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

It is a real treat to have the opportunity to prepare this biographical sketch of Dr. Whitlock. I have known him for many years, particularly through the activities of the Cajal Club. Actually, I first saw the name D.G. Whitlock in 1967 or 1968 on two studies published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, while writing my Ph.D. dissertation. Both of these studies were on the avian cerebellum and represented important sources of information for my comparative study. Over the intervening years, I have revisited Dr. Whitlock's early work and developed great respect for him as a scholar, excellent anatomist, and gentleman.

Dr. Whitlock entered the University of Oregon Medical School in 1944 and received his M.D. degree in 1949. This was a period in history when a student could enter medical school before receiving a bachelors degree. However, after a certain time in medical school, the successful student could receive an undergraduate degree. Consequently, Dr. Whitlock entered medical school in 1944, received his B.S. degree from Oregon State University in 1946 and his M.D. degree in 1949. Having a strong interest in research and academics, Dr. Whitlock entered the graduate program at he University of Oregon Medical School and received his Ph.D. degree in anatomy in 1951. Olof Larsell, the great cerebellar morphologist who developed the method of numbering the cerebellar lobules I to X, was his major professor and research advisor.

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Figure 1. Dr. David G. Whitlock

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After graduate school, Dr. Whitlock was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute of Physiology, Pisa, Italy, from 1951 to 1952. Upon his return to the United States, he joined Walter Reed as a 1st Lt. MC Physiologist in the Department of Neurophysiology where he worked from 1953 to 1955. He joined the Department of Anatomy at the State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse in 1955 as an Assistant Professor and rose through the academic ranks to Professor. In 1966, he was appointed Chairman of the Department at Syracuse. Dr. Whitlock became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Colorado Schools Medicine in 1967, a position he held until 1982. From 1982 to 1999, he was a Professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology (the renamed Department of Anatomy) and is presently a Professor Emeritus.

As one would expect from a student of Larsell, Dr. Whitlock's research has centered on the field of neuroscience. His contributions include studies on the avian cerebellum, the pyramidal system and its influence on spinal motor neuron, spinothalamic and posterior column-medical lemniscus pathways, and selected studies of the cerebral cortex. These studies have appeared in what are widely recognized as some of the most respected neurosciences journals in the world, including The Journal of Comparative Neurology, Journal of Neurophysiology, Experimental Neurology, and Brain Research. Not only has Dr. Whitlock published in excellent journals, but he has also coauthored studies with several notable neuroscientists. These coauthors include O. Larsell, T.E. Starzl, W.J.H. Nauta, G. Moruzzi, and E.R. Perl. In 1954, he was coauthor of a book chapter with Nauta entitled “An Anatomical Study on the Nonspecific Thalamic Projection System”; this was the first report on the use of the selective silver method to trace pathways in the central nervous system. A related, and also original, contribution was made in his publication entitled “Evaluation of Radioautographic Neuroanatomical Tracing Method” in 1968. This was the first report on the use of tritiated amino acids to trace pathways in the nervous system.

Dr. Whitlock's dedication to the field of neuroanatomy/neuroscience and to the American Association of Anatomists (AAA) has been outstanding, as reflected by several activities. First, he was President of the Association of Anatomy Chairmen (1970–1971) and was on the Bylaws Committee (1986–1988) and a Councilor (1987–1991) of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists. Second, he has served the AAA in several capacities. These include service on the Executive Committee (1962–1972), the C. Judson Herrick Award Committee (1966–1970), the Program Committee and the Basmajian/William & Wilkins Award Committee (1986–1989). He also served as the AAA Representative to the Council of Academic Societies (1961–1971). Third, Dr. Whitlock has been a principal in the Cajal Club for many years. He was Program Chair for the 1976 meeting and served as the Apical Dendrite (Secretary/Treasurer) from 1982 to 2001. In this latter capacity, he worked closely with Dr. Wendell J. Krieg to establish the Krieg Cortical Kudos Awards Program. This program has recognized over 45 scientists and students from around the world and has awarded, to date, over $140,000.00 in cash prizes. It is safe to say that Dr. Whitlock has made enormous contributions to the Cajal Club, and in some respects he has been the fuel that has kept the engine running. In addition to the Secretary/Treasurer office, he has served on the Awards Committee (1987–2001), been a Cajal Club representative to the AAA Program Committee (1991–2001), been a member of the Board of Directors (1987–2001), and was the principal participant in the formation of the Cajal Club Foundation.

Another area in which Dr. Whitlock has made important contributions is anatomy education as broadly defined. First, and certainly most important, Dr. Whitlock, along with Victor M. Spitzer, was the Co-Principal Investigator on the Visible Human Project. This project, formally initiated in 1992, was the first to elucidate the detailed anatomy of the human body and to provide high-quality digital images for use by teachers, researchers, and clinicians around the world. The Visible Human Project has proven to be an extremely important scientific and educational contribution that provides a platform that other investigators may use to develop new educational tools. Second, Dr. Whitlock has published several studies, books, and videodisks based on the Visible Human Project. These include publication on anatomy as well as on the computer and engineering aspects of the project. Before this project, Dr. Whitlock published a large series of slide tape presentations on the gross anatomy. Third, Dr. Whitlock continues to serve as a consultant to the Visible Human Project and to several spin-off funded projects. This is certainly an enduring contribution to the field of anatomy, to medical education, and to clinical medicine.

Over the years, Dr. Whitlock served on the NIH Study Sections (Neurology SS 1960–1964; Neurology B, 1968–1970) as Chair and as a NASA Experimenter for ATS satellites (1973–1975). Recently, he has contributed time and energy to individuals and programs interested in using the Visible Human Database.

Dr. Whitlock is a member of the American Association of Anatomists, Cajal Club, American Association of Clinical Anatomists, Alpha Omega Alpha, Sigma Xi, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Over the years, Dr. Whitlock has made original scientific observations, served both the AAA and the Cajal Club in many and important, capacities, and made a lasting contribution to the field of anatomy through his innovation in the Visible Human Project. The AAA is pleased to honor Dr. David G. Whitlock as the 2001 recipient of the A.J. Ladman/Wiley Exemplary Service Award.