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Robert Hodgson Heptinstall

Portrait of Robert Hodgson Heptinstall
Robert Hodgson Heptinstall
Date: 1986
Medium: Photograph
Dimensions: 45 x 35 in.
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Robert Hodgson Heptinstall


Heptinstall, a pathology director at Johns Hopkins, was born in Keswick, England. His medical studies were completed at King’s College in London, Charing Cross Medical School, and London University. He received an L.R.C.P. and M.R.C.S. in 1943, an M.B. and B.S. in 1944, and an M.D. in pathology in 1948. During World War II, Heptinstall served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in India, Burma, Siam, and the Dutch East Indies. After his military service, he was affiliated with St. Mary’s Hospital in London until 1960, at which time he accepted a position as a visiting professor of pathology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Two years later, he was appointed to the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as an associate professor of pathology. In 1966, Heptinstall was named professor and acting director of the department of pathology. In 1969, he became the Baxley Professor of Pathology and director of the department, as well as pathologist-in-chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He held those posts until his retirement in 1988.

Heptinstall is an authority on kidney disease, atherosclerosis, and hypertension and has published more than 100 papers in these areas. He was also the editor of Laboratory Investigation and served a seven-year stint as associate editor of Nephron. Heptinstall  was elected president of the American Society of Nephrology in 1972, and later served as vice president of the International Society of Nephrology.

Heptinstall’s awards include the Gold Medal of the Danish Surgical Society and the David M. Hume Memorial Award of the National Kidney Foundation. In 1984, he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. In 1999, he was awarded the Jean Hamburger Award by the International Society of Nephrology. In 2011, the Renal Pathology Society renamed its lifetime achievement award the Robert H. Heptinstall Lifetime Achievement Award, and honored Heptinstall as its recipient.