David G. Whitlock, MD, Ph.D.

Honored Member Award 2001

Dr. David G. Whitlock entered the University of Oregon Medical School in 1944 and received his M.D. degree in 1949. Having a strong interest in research and academics, Dr. Whitlock entered the graduate program at the University of Oregon Medical School and received his Ph.D. degree in anatomy in 1951. After graduate school, Dr. Whitlock was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute of Physiology, Pisa, Italy, from 1951 to 1952. Upon his return to the United States, he joined Walter Reed as a 1st Lt. MC Physiologist in the Department of Neurophysiology where he worked from 1953 to 1955. He joined the Department of Anatomy at the State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse in 1955 as an Assistant Professor and rose through the academic ranks to Professor. In 1966, he was appointed Chairman of the Department at Syracuse. Dr. Whitlock became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1967, a position he held until 1982. From 1982 to 1999, he was a Professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology and is presently a Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Whitlock’s research has centered on the field of neuroscience. His contributions include studies on the avian cerebellum, the pyramidal system and its influence on spinal motor neuron, spinothalamic and posterior column-medical lemniscus pathways, and selected studies of the cerebral cortex.   He published the first report on the use of the selective silver method to trace pathways in the central nervous system as well as the first report on the use of tritiated amino acids to trace pathways in the nervous system.

Dr. Whitlock has made important contributions to anatomy education.  Among the highest profile is his work with Victor M. Spitzer as co PI on the Visible Human Project - initiated in 1992.  This study provided high-quality digital images of the human body in numerous planes for use by teachers, researchers, and clinicians around the world. The Visible Human Project has proven to be an extremely important scientific and educational contribution that provides a platform that other investigators may use to develop new educational tools. In addition, Dr. Whitlock has published several studies, books, and videodisks based on the Visible Human Project. Before this project, Dr. Whitlock published a large series of slide tape presentations on gross anatomy. The Visible Human Project is an enduring contribution to the field of anatomy, to medical education, and to clinical medicine.

Dr. Whitlock is a member of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, American Association of Anatomists, Cajal Club, Alpha Omega Alpha, Sigma Xi, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.