C. Ladd Prosser is considered the “father” of modern comparative physiology. His research ranged from the neurophysiology of invertebrates to muscle physiology with various animal models. He published eight books and over 150 research articles and trained over 50 PhD students. His magnum opus, “Comparative Animal Physiology,” went through four editions from 1950 to 1991 and greatly influenced modern physiology. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1974.
Ladd received an AB degree from the University of Rochester (1929) and a PhD degree in zoology from Johns Hopkins University (1932). He then was a Parker Fellow first at Harvard Medical School (1932-33), and then with Adrian and Eccles in England (1933-34). Ladd began his faculty career in 1934 as an Assistant Professor at Clark University.
In 1939, he joined the Department of Zoology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and rose to the level of professor in 1949, retiring in 1975. He continued his scholarly activities for another 20+ years. Ladd served as head of the Physiology & Biophysics Department (now Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology) from 1960 to 1969 and was a key figure in the development of Biophysics and Neuroscience programs on this campus.
He met his wife, Hazel, while teaching at Woods Hole in the summer of 1932. They were married in 1934 and had three children: Jane Ellen (Armstrong), Nancy Ladd (Mienertzhagen), and Loring Blanchard.
To honor Dr. Prosser, his former trainees and associates established an endowed lectureship. Each year it allows the department to invite a renowned scientist(s) who have made fundamental contributions in shaping the field of physiology.
Jim Simmons and Andrea Simmons
The 2023 Prosser Memorial Lecture featured guest speakers will be Jim and Andrea Simmons. Andrea Simmons is Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University. James Simmons is Professor of Biology at Brown University.
Previous Prosser Memorial Lecturers
2022: Suraj Unniapan
"Nucleobindins: From Calcium and DNA Binding to Metabolic and Endocrine Regulation."
Dr. Unniapan is Centennial Enhancement Chair and Professor, Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, University of Saskatchewan
2021: Carla Shatz
"Synapses Lost and Found: Developmental critical periods and Alzheimer's disease."
Carla Shatz, PhD, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and Sapp Family Provostial Professor of Biology and Neurobiology at Stanford University.
Spring 2019: Lily Jan and Yuh-Nung Jan
"The many physiological roles of mechano-sensitive channels and the TMEM16 channel/scramblase family."
Lily Jan, PhD, and Yuh-Nung Jan, PhD, are HHMI investigators, members of the National Academy of Sciences, and Jack and DeLoris Lange Professors of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Fall 2019: Roger Davis
"Metabolic Stress Signaling by JNK."
Roger Davis, PhD, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an HHMI Investigator, and the H. Arthur Smith Professor and Chair, Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
2017: Steven McKnight
"A solid-state conceptualization of information transfer from gene message to protein."
Steven McKnight, PhD, is the recipient of the NIH Pioneer Award, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and National Institute of Medicine. He is chair of biochemistry at the University of Texas Southwestern.
2016: Jeffrey Friedman
"Leptin and the Neural Control of Appetite and Metabolism."
Jeffrey Friedman, MD, PhD, is an Albert Lasker Award recipient, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an HHMI Investigator, and a Distinguished Professor of the Starr Center for Human Genomics at Rockefeller University.
2015: Gail Mandel
"New Insights into the Dysfunctional Circuitry Underlying Rett Syndrome."
Gail Mandel, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor, HHMI Investigator, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Senior Scientist at the Vollum Institute of the Oregon Health and Science University.
2014: Owen Witte
"Stem Cell Targets and Pathways in Prostate Cancer."
Owen Witte, MD, is a Distinguished Professor, HHMI Investigator, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and director of the Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Research at UCLA.
2013: Richard Huganir
"Receptors, Synapses, and Memory."
Richard Huganir, PhD, is a professor, HHMI Investigator, and director of the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.