Helen B. Burch (1906-1987)

Helen B. Burch
Helen B. Burch, 1968

Helen Bulbrook Burch was born in Greenville, Texas in 1906. She received her undergraduate degree from Texas Women’s University in 1926, and both her M.S. (1928) and Ph.D. (1935) in Chemistry from Iowa State University. Burch spent 17 years doing research in New York at institutions such as Columbia University and the Public Health Research Institute prior to joining the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology in 1953 as a research associate. Burch was promoted to associate professor in 1957 and full professor in 1974. She retired as professor emeritus and lecturer in Pharmacology in 1975, though she was active in research until her death in 1987. In 1948 Burch made a survey of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines which revealed widespread severe nutritional deprivation as a result of the Second World War. In 1952 she served as a consultant to the Institute of Nutrition for Central America and Panama, traveling to Guatemala to further study malnutrition. Burch had an international reputation for her unique studies of the metabolic differences among the various parts of the kidney and was the author of over 90 scientific papers in the field of nutrition and metabolism.

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