Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
Samuel Schwartz, MD, a renowned expert on heme
and bile pigments, died of complications of lymphoma in Minneapolis, Minn,
on December 5, 1997.
The son of Russian immigrants, Dr Schwartz was born and raised in Minneapolis.
He attended the University of Minnesota undergraduate and medical school,
where he later became professor of internal medicine.
Dr Schwartz is perhaps best known for his work on porphyrin metabolism.
While an undergraduate, working in the laboratory of Dr Cecil Watson, he developed
the test for acute intermittent porphyria, later known as the Watson-Schwartz
test. During World War II Dr Schwartz was part of the Manhattan Project, where
he directed a team of 25 investigators studying the effects of radiation on
metalloporphyrins. He did work on photophoresis and on lead poisoning in humans
and in birds. Dr Schwartz also developed the HemoQuant test, which quantifies
the amount of occult blood in stool, leading to the earlier detection of colorectal
During his career, Dr Schwartz was a recognized world expert on porphyrin
and heme metabolism. He published numerous scientific papers and was the recipient
of a US Public Health Service research career award. He was a visiting professor
at the Carlsberg laboratory in Copenhagen and at the Karolinska Institute
in Sweden from 1946 to 1948, and at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem from
1961 to 1962. He was a member of the American Society of Biology and Chemistry,
American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Association of Cancer
Research, and the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.
Dr Schwartz was a tireless individual and in addition to his scientific
work, he was active in numerous community and conservation groups. He was
an accomplished singer and enjoyed playing the harmonica and writing poetry.
Perhaps something that sums up Dr Schwartz's work and his sense of humor is
a poem he wrote for a paper on the color of eggs as models of porphyrin metabolism:
Dr Schwartz is survived by his wife, Goldie, 9 children, 4 foster children,
20 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.
Ackerman R, Schwartz DH. Samuel Schwartz, MD. JAMA. 1998;279(7):560. doi:10.1001/jama.279.7.560