Aldred Scott Warthin, MD, PhD, was professor of pathology and director of the pathological laboratory at the University of Michigan during the first third of the 20th century.


To explore the life and accomplishments of Dr. Warthin and his impact on academic anatomic and clinical pathology.


Available primary and secondary historic sources were reviewed.


After studying music, biology, and botany, Warthin attended medical school at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1891; he remained in Ann Arbor for 40 years, almost single-handedly transforming a rundown department into a top academic department. He was a dedicated teacher who produced 2 important pathology textbooks. His research interests were diverse. In 1913, he published 1 of the first papers unambiguously documenting heritability of cancers; subsequent research on 1 of his cancer families resulted in the description of Lynch Syndrome. He published extensively in the fields of surgical pathology and experimental pathology. He was a recognized expert on syphilis and pathology of aging.


Warthin's name is eponymously associated with Warthin-Finkeldey giant cells in measles, Warthin's tumor of the parotid, and Warthin-Starry stain for the diagnosis of syphilis as well as Warthin's sign in the clinical diagnosis of pericarditis.

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Competing Interests

The author has no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.