Dr. James Bowman was the first black professor to given tenure in the
Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. He is best known for his work on the
genetics of race, especially G6PD Deficiency (Favism), and Sickle-Cell disease. Dr. Bowman died in September, 2011.
James Bowman was born in 1923 in Washington D.C.
He earned his MD from Howard University
and completed an internship at Freedmen’s Hospital in Chicago and his residency in pathology at St.
Luke’s Hospital. After studying
malnutrition in prisoners of war in the US Army’s Nutrition Laboratory studying
malnutrition in prisoners of war, Dr. Bowman decided to work abroad for a time
and moved to Iran in 1955 as
Head of Pathology for the Nemazee Hospital in Shiraz.
He is perhaps best known for his work on
favism and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency which he began in Iran. He then undertook a research fellowship in
1961 at the Galton Labs in London.
Dr. Bowman’s work has taken him to Mexico, Ethiopia,
and other nations to study genetics. He
is also well known for his work on sickle cell anemia, which corrected a number
of misconceptions about the disease. He became
the first tenured African American professor in the University of Chicago’s
Biological Sciences Department., and is currently Professor Emeritus in
Pathology and Medicine. He is the author
of several books, including Genetic Variation and Disorders in Peoples of African Origin
published in 1990. He died in September, 2011.