Lerner, Aaron 1920-2007 (Aaron Bunsen Lerner)

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Lerner, Aaron 1920-2007 (Aaron Bunsen Lerner)


See index for SATA sketch: Born September 21, 1920, in Minneapolis, MN; died of complications from Alzheimer's disease, February 3, 2007, in New Haven, CT. Dermatologist, educator, and author. Lerner was best remembered as the discoverer of melatonin, as well as other hormones and proteins that affect the skin's health. He was a graduate of the University of Minnesota, earning a Ph.D. there in 1945 and an M.D. in 1946. While still a student, Lerner made his first medical discovery: a blood protein now known as cryoglobulin. After two years of service in the U.S. Army, he was an American Cancer Society fellow at what is now Case Western Reserve University for a year. During the early 1950s, Lerner taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Oregon before joining the staff of Yale University Medical School in 1955. He became a full professor of dermatology there in 1957, remaining at Yale until his 1995 retirement. He was chair of his department from 1958 until 1985. It was also in 1958 that Lerner and his team of researchers discovered melatonin, a hormone that affects the skin's ability to darken and, interestingly, is also involved in regulating the body's circadian rhythms. Later, Lerner also developed a technique to treat vitiligo, a disorder that destroys pigment cells in the skin. Lerner was the author, with his wife, Marguerite Lerner, of Dermatologic Medications (1954). He also cowrote the children's book Infinity: What Is It? (1969) and authored the young-adult biography Einstein and Newton: A Comparison of the Two Greatest Scientists (1973).



New York Times, February 20, 2007, p. A17.

Times (London, England), March 20, 2007, p. 61.

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Lerner, Aaron 1920-2007 (Aaron Bunsen Lerner)

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