Howard Rasmussen

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Howard Rasmussen
Born (1925-03-01) March 1, 1925 (age 98)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
DiedApril 20, 2005(2005-04-20) (aged 80)

Howard Rasmussen (1925–2005) was an American physician-scientist known for his research on aldosterone and insulin secretion.

Early life and education[edit]

Howard Rasmussen was born March 1, 1925, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Frederick Rasmussen and Faith Elliott.[1][2] He grew up on a Pennsylvania dairy farm with five brothers.[3] As a young man, he served in the United States military in World War II in Europe, earning a purple heart with an oak leaf cluster.[3] At the war's conclusion, Rasmussen attended Gettysburg College, earning a Bachelor of Science in 1948.[3] He then went on to medical school at Harvard University, earning his medical degree in 1952, followed by training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.[3] Rasmussen then spent 1955–1956 as a research fellow at University College London, before returning to the US to pursue a PhD – which he was awarded by Rockefeller University in 1959.[3][2]

Academic career[edit]

Following his PhD, Rasmussen stayed for a short time at Rockefeller as an assistant professor, before being hired away by the University of Wisconsin, Madison as an associate professor in 1961.[3] He later moved again to join the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as the Benjamin Rush Professor and Chair of Biochemistry.[3] In 1976, Rasmussen moved to Yale University where he served as Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology as well as Chief of the Endocrinology and Metabolism section at Yale Medical School.[3] In 1993, Rasmussen moved to the Medical College of Georgia to found and direct the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics.[3] He retired in 2000.[3]

Rasmussen was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1985.[4]


Rasmussen's research focused on hormone signaling, particularly parathyroid hormone, aldosterone, and insulin.[3] He was among the first to appreciate the role of calcium as a cellular second messenger.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Rasmussen married Jane Spence in 1952, and they remained married until her death in 1999. They had four children.[3] He died on April 20, 2005, in Charlotte, North Carolina following a prolonged illness.[3][1]


  1. ^ a b "Howard Rasmussen M.D." The Charlotte Observer. 26 April 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b Curriculum Vitae - Howard Rasmussen, M.D., Ph.D., RU 237, retrieved 18 January 2022 – via Yale University Manuscripts and Archives Repository, Biographical Information on Yale University Affiliated Individuals Collection
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Deaths - Dr. Howard Rasmussen". The New York Times. 22 May 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Historic Fellows Database". AAAS. Retrieved 18 January 2022.