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Walsh, Director of NIDDK CURE Center, Mourned

Dr. John Harley Walsh, 61, world-renowned for his research in gastrointestinal physiology, died of complications of a heart attack June 14. An NIDDK grantee for more than 27 years and an NIH Merit Award recipient, he was the research chief of the Center for Ulcer Research and Education (CURE) of the UCLA digestive diseases division. He was also the Straus professor of medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Dr. John H. Walsh

"John has been a leader in gastroenterology research and has made important and lasting contributions to our understanding of gastrointestinal hormones, gastric acid production and peptic ulcer disease," said Dr. Jay Hoofnagle, director, Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, NIDDK. "His death occurs not at the end, but in the middle of a very active and productive career."

Celebrated for his innovative research and visionary leadership, Walsh received the Abbott Distinguished Research Award for excellence in gastrointestinal physiology from the American Physiological Society in April. He served as president of the American Gastroenterological Association from 1994 to 1995. He also trained a generation of young investigators in digestive disease research.

"John was a consensus builder in the field and at his center," said Dr. Frank Hamilton, chief, Digestive Diseases Program Branch, NIDDK. "He saw talent in people that he worked with and nurtured it."

In 1970, Walsh began his more than 30-year career at UCLA School of Medicine. He started working with Dr. Morton L. Grossman, founder of the Center for Ulcer Research and Education at the Veterans Administration Westside Hospital in 1974. After Grossman's death in 1981, Walsh became leader of the center.

Born in Jackson, Miss., Walsh received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Vanderbilt University. He then completed an internal medicine residency at New York Hospital and Cornell Medical Center. Before joining UCLA, he was a research associate at the Veterans Administration Hospital in New York City.

Walsh authored over 500 published articles and book chapters on the regulatory physiology of gastric secretion, and was a member of several professional societies. He was a scientific reviewer on numerous study sections, a member of the NIDDK Advisory Council and served on the digestive diseases advisory board.

Walsh is survived by a daughter, Courtney S.W. Phleger of San Francisco; a son, John Harley Walsh Jr. of Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.; a sister, Cecile W. Wardlaw of Jackson, Miss.; and three grandchildren.

"He will be sorely missed by us at the NIH and by the whole gastroenterology community," said Hoofnagle.

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