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American Thyroid Association Distinguished Lectureship Award Named to Honor Geisel Professor Emerita Valerie Anne Galton

Valerie Anne Galton, PhD. Photo by Kurt Wehde

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has established the Valerie Anne Galton Distinguished Lectureship Award in recognition of Valerie Anne Galton, PhD, professor emerita of physiology and neurobiology at Geisel School of Medicine, for her remarkable scientific accomplishments and significant contributions to the advancement of clinical knowledge of thyroid conditions—including the roles of the iodothyronine deiodinases in the regulation of intracellular thyroid hormone levels and thyroid hormone action during development.

This is the first ATA lectureship named in honor of a woman.

“This was certainly the surprise of my life. I feel extremely honored and proud that I have been chosen to lend my name to this new lectureship and I thank all those who were involved in the decision,” Galton says. “After fifty-six years of membership in the ATA—The American Goiter Association when I joined with a membership mainly of men—it has a very special place in my life, so this honor means a very great deal to me.”

A member of the medical school’s faculty for 60 years, joining at a time when few women held faculty positions, Galton has been, and remains, a leader in research related to thyroid hormone metabolism and action and author of numerous publications.

For many years, she has investigated the pre-receptor regulation of thyroid hormone (TH) action in the developing brain. TH is essential for normal brain development, and it is widely believed that 3,5,3’ -triiodothyronine (T3), which is generated within the brain from the major circulating hormone thyroxine (T4) by the type 2 deiodinase (D2), is responsible for TH action in this organ. Following up on her previous findings, Galton is now testing the hypothesis that T4 is more than a pro-hormone.

“Dr. Galton has had a remarkable career at Geisel and has immensely contributed to our education and research programs,” says Duane A. Compton, PhD, dean of the medical school. “I am very grateful to the ATA for honoring her with this lectureship—it is the highest form of respect from her professional colleagues.”

The award, an annual clinical lecture, is open to all. Awardees are those who exemplify Galton’s attributes of collaborative research that contributes to significant advancement of clinical knowledge. The 2021 recipient, Sheue-yann Cheng, PhD, a molecular geneticist and senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, will present the inaugural lecture during the ATA’s 90th annual meeting in October.