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Dr. Robert M. MacLeod

Dr. Robert M. MacLeod

WICOMICO CHURCH—Dr. Robert Meredith MacLeod of Wicomico Church, died on November 1, 2021. He was born in 1929.

He was a neuroendocrinologist who spent his career in academic medical research.  He received a bachelor’s in chemistry, and he earned a master’s in physiology and biophysics from New York University. Subsequently, he earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Duke University School of Medicine. He completed his postgraduate work at Duke and later studied at Oxford University Post Graduate Medical School with Professor Sir Geoffrey Harris, “the father of neuroendocrinology.”

In 1960, Dr. MacLeod joined the faculty at The University of Virginia School of Medicine as an assistant professor of medicine and remained at that institution for his entire professional career. During his tenure there he held many administrative posts including director, Division of Cancer Studies, director, Division of Biomedical Engineering, and director, Medical Clinical and Endocrinology Laboratory. He was appointed associate professor and then professor of internal medicine in 1972.

Dr. MacLeod’s research centered on the role the endocrine system exerts on breast cancer development and more particularly on the neuroregulatory control of the secretion of pituitary gland hormones. He received the prestigious Research Career Award from the National Cancer Institute, USPHS; grants from the National Institutes of Health supported his studies for his entire professional career.

He is credited with identifying dopamine as the neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates prolactin secretion by the pituitary. This discovery opened a new modality for the successful medical treatment of prolactin secreting pituitary tumors.

He was a member of many professional organizations and societies including being a Fellow, Royal Society of Medicine (London). He was a frequent plenary lecturer at conferences and meetings throughout the world. He also served as a consultant to the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Whittier Institute and served on advisory boards of several pharmaceutical companies.

He was the editor or editor-in-chief of several medical journals. His research laboratory served as a place where many highly talented, young medical scientists came to further advance their research and clinical capabilities before they returned to their home institutions throughout the world. His research resulted in the publication of more than 300 scientific manuscripts in prestigious medical journals and was the editor of many books.

He was elected Emeritus Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1994 upon his retirement.    

Dr. MacLeod was married to Jan E. Rae and was the proud father of four daughters from his earlier marriage to Martha Churchill (Muffie) Shaw, Cynthia A. MacLeod (Douglas Harnsberger) lives in Swarthmore, Pa., Wendy Murphy (James), lives in Hanover, N.H., Virginia G. Buchanan (David) lives in Greensboro, N.C.,  and Lolly Quigley (James) lives in Roanoke.

He was joyful grandfather of Patrick, Caitlyn, Anna Skye, John and Campbell, and great-grandfather of Andrew and Phoebe.

Although Dr. MacLeod was a dedicated endocrinologist, he found time to enjoy an outdoor life to the fullest. He bred Registered Angus cattle on his farm outside Charlottesville and played tennis as a member of Farmington Country Club. After his retirement he moved to Wicomico Church.

He frequently captained his sailboat or motor yacht along the Atlantic coast from Maine to the Caribbean. He served as Commodore of Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club in Kilmarnock, where he enjoyed the company of countless friends.  In retirement he also found time to be a tennis player, precision wood worker and boat builder.

He attended Wicomico Parish Church where a memorial service will be held at a later date. Instead of flowers, contributions may be made to one’s favorite charity.

Currie Funeral Home LLC of Kilmarnock handled the arrangements.

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
From the Rappahannock Record news team
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