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Eli Kennerly Marshall, Jr.

Portrait of Eli Kennerly Marshall, Jr.
Eli Kennerly Marshall, Jr.
Date: 1950
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 36 x 27 in.
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Eli Kennerly Marshall, Jr.


Marshall was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1889. He received his B.S. in 1908 from the College of Charleston. In 1911 and 1917 respectively, he graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a Ph.D. and an M.D. After earning his Ph.D., Marshall began his career at Hopkins as an instructor in physiological chemistry under Walter Jones. During this time, he developed a method for detecting urea in biological fluids. His investigations brought him to the attention of John J. Abel, who invited him in 1913 to join the department of pharmacology. Some time later, following the completion of his medical degree and service in World War I, Marshall went to Washington University in St. Louis as a professor and head of the pharmacology department. He returned to Hopkins in 1921 and succeeded William Howell as director of the department of physiology.

Marshall made a number of significant contributions in renal physiology including his demonstration of secretion by the renal tubules as the mechanism of elimination of phenolsulfonphthalein. He also developed a method for measuring cardiac output, which remained the only method for measuring cardiac output until the introduction of cardiac catheterization.

In 1932, Marshall succeeded John J. Abel as professor and director of the department of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. He began his research in this department by investigating drug-induced respiratory depression. He discovered the role played by anorexia in respiratory depression, revealing the danger of carbon dioxide narcosis when oxygen is administered to patients with chronic pulmonary or cardiac disease.

In the late 1930s, he developed a method for determining the absorption, distribution, and excretion of sulfanilamide in animals and man. Consequently, rational dose schedules were established for this drug. During World War II, he developed better means of treating malaria.

Marshall was the American editor-in-chief of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics from 1932 to 1938. In 1942, he was elected president of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.