Allan G. Gornall, PhD

1984 Outstanding Contributions in Education

Allan Gornall will receive the 14th AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education. The award is sponsored by SmithKline Clinical Laboratories. 

Dr. Gornall, born in Nova Scotia in 1914, was graduated with a B.A. and Honors in Chemistry from Mount Allison University in 1936. He entered graduate studies in pathological chemistry at the University of Toronto, receiving his Ph.D. in 1941.

In 1942 he enlisted to serve as clinical chemist at the Royal Canadian Naval Hospital in Halifax, returning in 1946 to become assistant professor of pathological chemistry in Toronto. In 1949 he spent six months as a Nuffield Scholar studying endocrinology in Edinburgh and London. Continuing an academic research career, he became associate professor in 1952, professor in 1963. From 1966 to 1976 he was chairman of the department, which changed its name to Clinical Biochemistry. He became professor emeritus in 1980, by which time he had written or co-authored 75 scientific papers. Best known is “Determination of Serum Proteins by Means of the Biuret Reaction,” published in 1949. This classic paper became the 9th most frequently cited paper over the next 30 years.

Dr. Gornall was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1966, and Mount Allison conferred the D.Sc. (honoris causa) in 1978. He received the Ames Award of the CSCC in 1977, the Annual Lectureship Award of the Manitoba SCC, and the Somogyi-Sendroy Award of the Upstate N.Y. Section of AACC in 1982.

As an educator, Dr. Gornall developed his skills as a teacher of medical, science, and graduate students. In 1974 he was National Visiting Lecturer of the AACC. In 1975 he gave the CSCC Award Lecture at the 9th International Congress, on the subject “Future Education and Training Requirements of Clinical Biochemists.” In 1977 he was visiting lecturer of the Australian Association of Clinical Biochemists.

He was for several years a member of the Education Committee of the CSCC, and of the Certification Committee and the Ad Hoc Accreditation Committees. He was chairman of the Education Committee of the Ontario SCC until 1983. In 1978 he served as an advisor on a Task Force of the AACC Education Committee. During the decade when he held the chair in Clinical Biochemistry, he worked with his colleagues to develop a postdoctoral Diploma Course in Clinical Chemistry, a syllabus for this training program (later adopted by CSCC), and a two-week refresher course in clinical biochemistry. Most notable was his success in negotiating postdoctoral fellowships for training in Clinical Chemistry, awarded by the Ministry of Health on recommendation of the Education Committee.

A fitting culmination of an active career has been his editing of Applied Biochemistry of Clinical Disorders, a book that has been reprinted and is due to appear in an updated second edition in 1985. On retirement his department established the Allan Gornall Testimonial Prize, awarded each year to the top undergraduate student in the course on biochemistry of human disease.

Dr. Gornall was married in 1941 to Sheila Stewart, who is now a creative goldsmith. They have four children: two sons are Ph.D.’s—one a physicist, one a clinical chemist; one son and a daughter are family physicians.