Mabel L. Purkerson (b. 1931)

Mabel Purkerson
Mabel Purkerson, ca. 1988

Mabel L. Purkerson received her bachelor’s degree from Erskine College in 1951 and her medical degree from the Medical College of South Carolina in Charleston in 1956. She interned at St. Louis City Hospital and then completed a residency in pediatrics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Following a fellowship in pediatric metabolism, also at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Purkerson joined the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine in 1961as an instructor in Pediatrics.

Purkerson’s interest in nephrology led to advanced training in the Renal Division of the Washington University School of Medicine in the early 1960s. Her research focused on renal physiology, specifically kidney pathophysiology and the pathophysiology of acute and chronic renal failure. Purkerson was appointed an instructor in the Department of Medicine in 1966 and assistant professor of Medicine the following year. From 1971 to 1972 Purkerson was a U.S. Public Health Service Special Fellow at the Department of Anatomy, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In 1976 Purkerson became associate professor of Medicine at Washington University, and in 1989 she became professor of Medicine. In addition to her research and teaching, Purkerson assumed administrative positions at Washington University, serving as associate dean for Curriculum and associate dean for Academic Projects. Dr. Purkerson also founded and served as president of Women in Nephrology, a group associated with the American Society of Nephrology.

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