Raymond F. Gasser, Ph.D.

Honored Member Award 2010

Ray Gasser’s professional career has been devoted to teaching and the study of human embryology.  It is only natural that he would dedicate himself in recent years to the organization and preservation of our treasured Carnegie archives of the development of our species.  Ray was born September 13, 1935 in Cullman, Alabama.  After receiving his B.S. degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, he attended and received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Alabama Graduate School at the Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama in 1962 and 1965, respectively.

After graduation Ray joined the faculty as an Instructor at the Louisiana State University, School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1965.  He rose through the ranks to Full Professor in 1974.  Retiring in 2003 he was then rehired and appointed both Professor Emeritus and Professor of Clinical Anatomy at LSU.  Early during his professional career he served as a Research Associate at the Southwest Foundation in San Antonio, Texas and also as Associate Dean for Student Affairs at LSU.  He has been a Visiting Investigator or Visiting Professor at the Carnegie Institution of Embryology in Washington, D.C., Anatomisches Institute der Universität Göttingen, in Germany, University of Washington in Seattle, Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan, Columbia University in New York and Cambridge University in England.  During his career of over 40 years, he taught Human Prenatal Development, and Gross Anatomy annually to medical and graduate students.  He also regularly taught residents and fellows in Urology, ENT, Neurosurgery, Ob-Gyn, Pediatrics, and Neuropsychiatry.  For these efforts he received over 20 teaching awards, variously named, from first year, second year, and graduating medical students.  In 2003 he received the LSU Medical Center’s Excellence in Teaching Basic Science Award

Ray’s primary area of research has been human embryology, numbering over 130 abstracts, research papers, books and book chapters.  More recently, he has been involved in digitizing and making available on CD’s and DVD’s, the microscopic, cross-sectional morphology of human embryos in the Carnegie Collection at all 23 stages. This project, called the Virtual Human Embryo, has received NIH support for the past nine years.  From this effort he discovered that commonly held migratory activity during embryonic development is often unnecessary and probably does not occur.  By using a central reference point and keeping magnifications the same from one stage to the next, he found that sclerotomal cells do not migrate medially and the neural crest precursors of spinal ganglia do not migrate ventrally.  

In 1996 the International Federation of Anatomy Associations (IFAA) appointed Ray to the Federative International Committee for Anatomical Terminology (FICAT).  He devoted most of his effort to the recommended list of human embryology terms (TE) that will be published soon.  He has been a member of the American Association of Clinical Anatomy from its inception, the American Association of Anatomy and the Royal Society of Medicine.  For many years he served on the Editorial Boards of the Anatomical Record and Clinical Anatomy journals. Because of his accomplishments Ray has been selected the 2010 AACA’s, Honored Member.