Doug received his BA and MA degrees in Biology at the University of Buffalo. He received his Doctorate in Anatomy at Upstate Medical Center in 1966 and became Assistant Professor of Anatomical Sciences at the University of Florida School of Medicine from 1966 to 1970. At that time he also served as Executive Secretary of the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida and was responsible for the cadaver procurement program for medical education for the Florida Medical Schools. In 1970, he returned to Syracuse as Associate Professor of Anatomy at Update Medical Center and became Professor of Anatomy in 1976. His research interests were in calcium endocrinology in amphibians, with morphological studies of the ultimobranchial body, and the endocrine origin of the calcemic hormone, calcitonin. He received grant funding from the NIH and NSF. He was nationally and internationally recognized for his work in amphibian calcium metabolism.
He taught Gross Anatomy and Human Embryology for over 40 years to medical students and residents, gaining notoriety for his ambidextrous chalkboard drawings of anatomical structures. As a member of the Graduate Faculty he taught a course in Data Analysis to Doctoral students. He was a member of numerous scientific organizations, including SigmaXi, The Scientific Research Society, where he served as President of the Syracuse Chapter. He was a recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the President’s Award and the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He served on the Board of the Syracuse affiliate of the National Kidney Foundation and several committees of the National Kidney Foundation. He was named Emeritus Professor upon his retirement in 2011. Amidst all of his accomplishments, Doug seamlessly incorporated more than 20 years of hemodialysis to treat his Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). He ultimately succumbed to pancreatic cancer.
Doug is survived by his beloved wife of 50 years, Judith P. Robertson, MD, and his cherished family: son Geoffrey Robertson (Jocelyn Robertson, MD) and daughter Nicole Robertson (Richard Garber), and his four grandchildren, Zoe & Ally Robertson and Reed & Daryn Garber. He is also survived by his dear cousin, Sandra O’Brien, and a loving extended family of in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, colleagues and caregivers. He was pre-deceased by his parents, his sister Gail Lisi and his brother Donald Robertson.
A Celebration of Life will take place in the spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Doug’s honor may be made to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation (pkdcure.org) or the Skaneateles Music Festival (skanfest.org).
To send condolences visit: robertdgrayfuneralhome.com.