Lives of the fellows

Daphne Sophie Anne Anderson Roe

b.4 January 1923 d.23 September 1993
MRCS LRCP(1945) MB BS Lond(1946) DCH(1946) MRCP(1948) MD(1950) DMRT(1952) FRCP(1984)

Daphne Anderson Roe was born and educated in London, but spent most of her career working in the United States as a nutritionist and dermatologist. She studied medicine at the Royal Free Hospital and just after the war worked in junior posts at St John’s Hospital for Diseases of the Skin, London. In 1950 she completed her MD and was awarded the Chesterfield medal from the Institute of Dermatology, University of London.

In 1953 she went to Harvard University as a research fellow in dermatology and a year later married Albert Sutherland Roe, an art historian. For the next few years she worked in research positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the Memorial Hospital, Wilmington, Delaware, while her husband held appointments in the history of art. In 1961 she moved to Ithaca, New York, as a research associate in the graduate department of nutrition at Cornell University, and established a dermatology practice. She was made an associate professor of nutrition in 1970 and later became a professor.

She was a prolific writer. Her 15 books and over 150 articles included Drug-induced nutritional deficiencies (Westport, Connecticut, AVI, 1976), Alcohol and the diet (Westport, Connecticut, AVI, 1979), Geriatric nutrition (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1982) and Nutrition and the skin (New York, A R Liss, 1986), which linked her two specialties.

Her expertise ranged from the role of beta-carotene in protecting the human immune system from sunlight, to nutritional deficiencies in the elderly and to the interaction between drugs and nutrients. Her most recent research was in nutrition and aging, particularly the role of carotenoids in the protection of the immune systems of older people. She found that moderate doses of beta-carotene can protect people from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light on the immune system. She also established a link between overexposure to sunlight and reduction of beta-carotene in plasma. In 1984 she found that the recommended dietary allowance for riboflavine was insufficient for women who exercise and proposed a doubling of that level.

In 1987 she was honored with the Joseph B Goldberger award in clinical nutrition and the Lederle award of the American Institute of Nutrition, which described her as a major contributor to the recognition of drug induced nutritional deficiencies. In the same year she was appointed fellow of the American Institute of Nutrition. She retired in 1993 as a professor, but stayed at Cornell, carrying out research and helping graduate students. She was tragically killed in a road accident on the day she was due to leave for Australia for an international conference on nutrition. At the time of her election to the Fellowship of the College she listed medical and art history and computing among her interests. She had two sons and a daughter.

RCP editor

(Volume X, page 422)

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