Robert Leader

Robert Wardell Leader


Born: 16 January 1919, Tacoma, Washington

Died: 1 August 1996, East Lansing, Michigan

Academic Degrees

  • BS and DVM: Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 1952
  • MS (Pathology): Washington State University 1955

Academic Positions

  • 1952 - 1965 Instructor and Associate Professor then Associate Professor and Professor (1965) of Veterinary Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  • 965 - 1971 Associate Professor, Head of the Laboratory of Comparative Pathology, The Rockefeller University, New York City, New York
  • 968 - 1971 Clinical Professor of Pathology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York City, New York
  • 971 - 1975 Professor and Head, Department of Pathobiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • 1975 - 1990 Professor and Chair (1975-1980), Department of Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
  • 1980 - 1984 Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Michigan State University
  • 1983 - 1985 Acting Director of Center for Environmental Toxicology, Michigan State University
  • 1990 Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University


  • 1955 - 1956 Postdoctoral training in virology (with Dr. Wendell M. Stanley, Nobel Laureate), University of California, Berkeley
  • 1961 - 1962 Research in pathology at New York Medical College (with Dr. Bernard M. Wagner)

Selected Career Highlights

  • Graduated from Washington State University with highest honors, receiving the Borden Award for highest academic rank in his graduating class.

  • During his 17 years at Washington State University, one of his responsibilities was postmortem supervision of postdoctoral and veterinary students on a rotational basis with other members of the pathology faculty. There were about 1,000 necropsies per year and included autopsies on dogs, cats, pigs, sheep, horses, goats, cows, rabbits, mink, chinchillas and monkeys.

  • Published over 70 papers on comparative and veterinary pathology.

  • Trained more than 30 veterinary pathologists, with over a dozen of his students becoming leaders in academic veterinary/comparative pathology (Chairs, Deans, Professors, Directors), and many others in National and Industrial programs.

  • Was instrumental in "bringing" the veterinarians to the IAP/USCAP Meetings (and keeping them there).

  • President of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (1980); President of the New York Society for Comparative Pathology (1967-1968); and Member, Nobel Nominations Committee (1968-1970); Lasker Award Committee (1969-1970).

  • Member of a great number of boards, committees and consultantships.

  • Member, Editorial Boards:

    • Advances in Veterinary Science and Comparative Medicine
    • American Journal of Veterinary Research
    • Journal of the Reticuloendothelial Society
    • Journal of Toxicologic Pathology
    • Veterinary Pathology
  • Major research interests: Pathogenesis of steatitis in mink; infectious canine hepatitis virus in tissue culture; public health service training grants in comparative pathology; studies of Chediak-Higashi syndrome and disease susceptibility; hereditary cyclic neutropenia of dogs; pathogenesis of Aleutian mink disease; renal lesions in aging rats and genetic aspects of aging; study of animal models for significant human diseases; pathology/toxicology training grants.

  • Organized Laboratories/Divisions of Comparative Pathology and Modernization of Experimental Animal Facilities at the Rockefeller University, the University of Connecticut, Columbia University and Michigan State University.

  • Dedicated to assisting the career development of graduate students and young faculty.

  • Was introduced to the sport of salmon fishing by Dr. Benjamin Trump. They both shared an interest in research, environmental disease, prevention of disease and the effects of acid rain on the environment.

  • A veteran of World War II, he was on the decks of the cruiser York when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. He served throughout the war in the South Pacific Theater. He had become a champion boxer for his weight class while in the Navy, known as "Bull dog Johnny".


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