American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
George N. Bowers
1988 Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry

George N. Bowers, Jr., will receive the 37th annual AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry. The award is sponsored by Miles Inc., Diagnostics Division, manufacturer of Ames products.

Dr. Bowers is a life-long resident of Connecticut, having been born in Harford, CT, at the Hartford Hospital, where he currently directs the clinical chemistry laboratory. His interest and ability in chemistry were recognized by high school teachers, who helped him to obtain a “chemistry scholarship” to college, but this option was superseded by induction into the U.S. Army in early 1944. After discharge from service in 1946, Dr. Bowers received a B.A. in chemistry from Colby College, Waterville, ME, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In 1954 he received an M.D. and won the Senior Thesis Research Award at Yale. His postdoctoral training consisted of an internship and a full medical residency at the Hartford Hospital from 1954 to 1958 and a fellowship in clinical chemistry under Dr. John Reinhold at the Pepper Laboratory of the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. Dr. Bowers holds certifications from the following American Boards: Internal Medicine in 1963, Pathology (Clinical Chemistry) in 1964, and Clinical Chemistry in 1965.

Dr. Bowers joined the Hartford Hospital medical staff in 1959 as the director of the clinical chemistry laboratory, with a dual appointment to pathology and medicine as a clinical assistant. He is currently a member of the senior staff, Department of Pathology, and also holds an academic appointment as professor of laboratory medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Connecticut (Farmington). His daily efforts currently center on providing a total of 1,750,000 accurate and timely biochemical measurements for the 300 separate analytes needed for acute patient care in this 850-bed tertiary-level community hospital. His major efforts have been to assemble and support a dedicated group of doctoral chemists (McComb, Burnett, Moore, and postdoctoral fellows) and technologists who share the goal of making clinical chemistry services readily available and accurate.

Dr. Bowers’s service, research, and professional activities are best characterized as working cooperatively with others to advance the analytical aspects of clinical chemistry. Cooperation marks the majority of his 160 publications, because 130 are co-authored—as was dramatically shown by a recent paper on AST reference material [Clin Chem 1988; 34:450–9]. His professional interactions span several local, national, and international organizations that seek to advance science, medicine, chemistry, or metrology. He has served AACC as president in 1974, as an 11-year member of the Editorial Board of Clinical Chemistry, and as a member or chairperson of a dozen committees.

Dr. Bowers has been a long-time champion in the development of standards and national/international reference systems. He is an advocate of accuracy in daily chemistry services through the creation of voluntary consensus that brings into place the needed reference methods and materials (see Cali, An Idea Whose Time Has Come. Clin Chem 1973; 19:291–3). To achieve such ends, he has interacted with numerous physicians and clinical laboratory scientists in AACC, ACS, ASCP, ASMT, CDC, IFCC, NBS, NCCLS, and NIH, and with many other individuals in the clinical laboratory community and industry. For example, he has served twice as chairman of the AACC Committee on Standards; he was the first chairman of the IFCC Expert Panel on Enzymes; and he, in cooperation with Drs. Bergmeyer and Moss, wrote the basic guideline document for enzyme reference methods entitled “General Considerations…, etc.”. He also served on the board of directors of NCCLS and was one of three dozen AACC members who represented various industrial, governmental, and professional organizations and helped to form the National Reference System for the Clinical Laboratory (NRSCL) in 1977. Since that time he has served on the NRSCL Council and is now the AACC representative to the Laboratory Standardization Panel of the National Cholesterol Education Program of NHLBI and an advocate for the National Reference System for Cholesterol.

The most important and lasting contribution to clinical chemistry that Dr. Bowers and his associates at Harford have made is the training of nearly 20 postdoctoral fellows, starting with the AACC’s recent past president, Jack Ladenson (1972–1973) to the latest trainee, André Valcour (1988–1989). The staff also has contributed to the training of several hundred pathology residents and has sponsored five visiting scientists (Pybus, Mann, Hørder, Lazar, and Okorodudu).

Dr. Bowers continues to use his medical background to help trainees understand the power of accurate and timely results. During twice-weekly ward chart rounds, he shows the need for proper patient preparation and good sample procurement as prerequisites to both analytical performance and meaningful interpretation. He stresses that assessment of quality in clinical chemistry must start and end with a patient if analytical accuracy is to be relevant.

1974 AACC Past President's Award

George Bowers, PhD served as AACC president in 1974.

1973 Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area of Research

George Nelson Bowers, Jr. will receive the first AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry in a Selected Area, sponsored by the Boehringer Mannheim Corp. The 1973 Award is presented for contributions to the field of enzymology.

Dr. Bowers was born in Hartford, Connecticut, studied at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and was graduated with the M.D. degree from Yale University School of Medicine. Following internship and residency at Harford Hospital he was a Fellow in Clinical Chemistry under Dr. John Reinhold at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry, the American Board of Pathology in Clinical Chemistry, and the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Currently AACC President-Elect, Dr. Bowers has served as Chairman and in several offices in the Connecticut Section; on the National AACC Education Committee; on the Board of Editors of Clinical Chemistry; and for five years as Chairman of the AACC Standards Committee. In addition, he is on the Editorial Board of Health Laboratory Science (APHA) and a member of the Medical Laboratory Advisory Committee to the National Communicable Disease Center, on the Board of Directors of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards, and on the Advisory Committees for the National Academy of Science to the Analytical Chemistry Division of the National Bureau of Standards, and the NBS Advisory Panel for Clinical Standards Program.

He is presently serving as chairman of the Expert Panel on (Clinical) Enzymes of the International Federation for Clinical Chemists. His interest in enzymology, begun in 1958 with a study of transaminases in serum, has continued to date. He has been the author or co-author of more than thirty articles related to the study of enzymes in the clinical chemical laboratory, in addition to being on the faculty of seminars and workshops on enzymology, including the 8th International Congress on Clinical Chemistry (Copenhagen) and the International Seminar and Workshop on Enzymology (Chicago).

Thorough study of the factors that can affect enzyme activity, particularly in respect to alkaline phosphatases, led to his work on precision in clinical enzymology and his interest in standardization of enzyme analyses. As a member of the IFCC Expert Panel his experience is being utilized (with Drs. Bergmeyer and Moss) in drafting a proposal for “General considerations concerning the standardization of measurement of enzyme activity in human serum and/or plasma.”

A member of AACC since 1959, Dr. Bowers is also affiliated with the ACS, AAAS, AMA, AIC, Connecticut State Society of Pathologists, and the Connecticut Air Conservation Committee. A clinical chemist at Hartford Hospital, he is also a member of the Senior Staff, Department of Pathology, at Hartford and consultant to other institutions.