Dr. John B Stanbury

Dr. John B Stanbury M.D.

1993 in Public Health

Dr. John B. Stanbury is a Professor at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology. He has a long and distinguished career, pursuing pioneering research on the diseases of thyroid glands since 1949. Initially, Dr. Stanbury worked on diseases related to genetically enzymatic deficiencies of the thyroid glands. They were enzymes related to the synthesis and regulations of thyroid hormones. His research resulted in an increasing interest in the inherited diseases, and laid the foundation for molecular endocrinology in the subsequent years. Dr. Stanbury and two other colleagues published their work entitled “The metabolic basis of inherited diseases” which became a classic text book. In 1951, Dr. Stanbury led a team of researchers to conduct a comprehensive study of iodine deficiency in Argentina. This detailed and well integrated study resulted in another classical monograph on iodine deficiency and thyroid disorders. The Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization regional office for South America, then requested Dr. Stanbury to organise a prevention and control project against iodine deficiency for South American countries. A series of his subsequent studies showed that children born from mothers who have iodine deficiency during pregnancy may experience difficulty in learning at schools.
Dr. Stanbury and his colleagues organised an International Council for the Control of the Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICC-IDD) which plays an important catalytic function in the control of iodine deficiency in many developing countries.
Dr. Stanbury’s scientific contribution which ranged from his work at the molecular level to the cellular, organ, and community levels as well as his contribution and leadership in the fight against iodine deficiency, exemplifies the attempt to use scientific knowledge towards the alleviation of the suffering of a large number of underprivileged people of the world.