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Biographical entry Cheek, Donald Brook (1924 - 1990)

21 April 1924
North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
6 March 1990
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Medical scientist and Paediatrician


Donald Cheek's career was divided between Australia and North America. Early research was into pink disease in infants, the incidence of which fell rapidly after teething powders containing mercury were withdrawn from the market. From his time in North America his research focused on extra-cellular water in the body and electrolyte metabolism, and growth disorders in children. His book Human growth: body composition, cell growth, energy and intelligence (1968) established his international reputation. Cheek's other ground-breaking book was Fetal and postnatal cellular growth: hormones and nutrition (1975). In collaboration with the CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition Cheek studied the nutrition of Aborigines in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Later research was into zinc deficiencies associated with bowel disease among the Yalata community in the western region of South Australia. Cheek was a founding member of the Society for Perinatal Research and the first Australian elected to the Society of Paediatric Research.



Education - MB BS, University of Adelaide
1947 - 1950
Career position - Resident Medical Officer, Royal Adelaide and Adelaide Children's Hospitals
1949 - 1951
Career position - Research Fellow, University of Adelaide
Award - Rotary International Science Foundation Fellowship
1951 - 1952
Career position - Research Fellow, Department of Paediatrics, Yale University, U.S.A.
1952 - 1953
Career position - Physician, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Education - MD, University of Adelaide
1953 - 1956
Career position - Staff member, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, University of Cincinnati, Ohio
Career position - Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Education - DSc, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
1957 - 1958
Career position - Assistant (later Associate) Professor in Paediatrics, University of Texas (Southwestern) Medical School, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
1959 - 1962
Career position - Senior Research Fellow and consultant, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
Career position - Director of Research, Department of Electrolyte Metabolism, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
1962 - 1968
Career position - Head, Division of Growth, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, U.S.A.
Award - Borden Research Prize, American Academy of Pediatrics
1968 - 1973
Career position - Professor of Paediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
1973 - 1980
Career position - Director, Royal Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Melbourne, and Professor of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne
Award - Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
1980 - 1988
Career position - Visiting Professor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide

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  • Bundey, John, 'Donald Brook Cheek MB BS, MD, DSc, FRACS', Medical Journal of Australia, 154 (1991), 202. Details


Helen Cohn