American Society of Hematology

Ernest Beutler (1928 - 2008)

Ernest Beutler, MD, was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1928. With the advent of Hitler, he and his family moved to the United States in 1935 and settled in Milwaukee, WI. At age 15, he went to college at the University of Chicago. The intellectual character there fitted his keen mind and he remained at the University of Chicago for medical school and house staff training. He was attracted to hematology by the force of personalities of hematologists at Chicago, particularly Leon Jacobson, and, when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army, he was assigned to work with the Malaria Research Project, where he investigated the abnormality of the red cells that resulted in hemolytic anemia when primaquin was ingested. He noted that these cells had more Heinz bodies than normal when treated with certain chemicals, including iodacetamide. He deduced and then proved that glutathione was more easily oxidized and, from this, that the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) was diminished, opening an entire field of endeavor in hematology and genetics. The defect was shown to be X-linked, and, from the great heterogeneity of expression in obligate heterozygotes, he independently deduced that they must be variable chimeras due to the suppression of one or the other X chromosome in individual cells. This insight led to the demonstration of clonality in some tumors and in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) before more refined molecular genetic tests were available. Read more

Profile in The Hematologist

Dr. Beutler was profiled in the May/June 2008 issue of The Hematologist, "Ernest Beutler: Independent Thinker and Astute Observer."

Oral History

Learn more about Dr. Beutler by reading his oral history transcript.

Authored Blood Articles

Dr. Beutler published numerous articles in the Society's journal Blood.

Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology

In 2008, Dr. Beutler was the inaugural winner of the Society's highest honor, the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology.

Wallace H. Coulter Award Acceptance Speech

View a short video of Dr. Beutler's acceptance speech for the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology.

Biographical Memoir

Read a biographical memoir of Dr. Beutler published by the National Academy of Sciences in 2012.


An obituary on Dr. Beutler was published in the November/December 2008 issue of The Hematologist.

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