American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Julius Kerkay, PhD
1988 Outstanding Contributions in Education

Julius Kerkay will receive the 18th AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education. The award is sponsored by SmithKline Bio-Science Laboratories.

Dr. Kerkay was born in Hungary, attended the University of Veszprem, and received a diploma in chemical engineering in 1956. After the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 he emigrated to the United States, where he was introduced to clinical biochemistry at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Kerkay served his military duty at the Army Medical Laboratories, Fort Knox, KY, and the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA. He became civilian head of the Analytical Section of the Natick facilities. He next entered graduate school at the University of Louisville and received his Ph.D. in biochemistry in January 1969 under the guidance of Professor Ulrich Westphal.

After graduation, Dr. Kerkay directed the clinical laboratories for the Euclid Clinic Foundation and for International Medical Labs, Inc., Cleveland, OH, before joining the Cleveland State University faculty as assistant professor of chemistry in 1970. He achieved the rank of professor in 1981.

In 1971, Dr. Kerkay became director of clinical chemistry at Cleveland State University, which had the first clinical chemistry graduate program in the United States. In 1973, he started a Ph.D. program in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic; the first Ph.D. clinical chemist graduated in 1977. Since then, 28 doctoral degrees have been awarded in clinical chemistry and the program has maintained accreditation, first from ABCC and more recently from CommACC.

Dr. Kerkay’s research interest reflects his strong background in chemical engineering, environmental medicine, and clinical biochemistry. His publications deal with the measurement of trace organic compounds, mainly plasticizers, in patients who were exposed to these compounds either in the workplace or through medical intervention such as intravenous tubing and extracorporeal devices. Refining trace metal, steroid, and drug measurements in body fluids has been another interest. However, his major contribution to clinical biochemistry has been the discovery of the Down’s syndrome (DS) protein in the serum of parents of DS-affected children. Detection of this protein in the serum of men and women could become a valuable diagnostic tool for identifying individuals with a propensity toward nondisjunction and thus the parenting of DS-affected children.

Dr. Kerkay, a member of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry since 1969, has served as a member of the Education Committee; as a member of the Task Force on Professional Employment Guidelines; and as local section chairman, program chairman, councilor, and chairman of the Legislative, Nominating, and Membership Committees. In addition, he has been very active in professional certification, serving 11 years as a director for the National Registry in Clinical Chemistry, two years as its president, and seven years as a member of the Advisory Board of the National Certification Commission for Chemists and Chemical Engineers. He is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Sigma Xi, and the New York Academy of Sciences, in addition to several other professional societies. He has served as a speaker for the Greater Cleveland Hospital Association and for the Cleveland State University Speakers Bureau. He also has served for 20 years as a judge for the Northeast Ohio High School Science Fair.

Dr. Kerkay is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and is certified as a clinical chemist by the National Registry in Clinical Chemistry, as a Specialist in Chemistry (SC) by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, and as a Professional Chemist by the National Certification Commission in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Dr. Kerkay has been listed in American Men and Women of Science; Hungarians in America; Men of Achievement; Notable Americans; and Who’s Who in the Midwest. He has been a consulting clinical chemist/laboratory director to Analytical Laboratories of Ohio, Cleveland Clinic, Clinical Health Laboratories, Professional Clinical Laboratories, SDS Biotech Corporation, SmithKline Clinical Laboratories, and St. Luke’s Hospital. Dr. Kerkay also is an inspector of drug abuse testing laboratories for the College of American Pathologists/American Association for Clinical Chemistry.