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Obituary: Arthur D. Loewy, professor of anatomy and neuroscience, 74

Studied how the brain regulates bodily functions

December 5, 2017

Arthur DeCosta Loewy, PhD, a professor of anatomy and of neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Dec. 2, 2017, of complications related to inflammatory bowel disease and other health issues. He was 74.

Upon joining the faculty at the School of Medicine in 1975, Loewy focused his research on the ways the brain regulates bodily functions such as blood pressure. He is best known for discovering the anatomical basis of the fight-or-flight response. Early in his career, he used radioactively tagged molecules to trace the pathway that connects the brain to the pacemaking neurons in the heart. His latest studies focused on the brain structures that sense blood sodium levels and translate them into an appetite for salt.

“Dr. Loewy made major contributions to the field of neuroscience and, in particular, to studies of the autonomic nervous system centers and pathways in the brain, including those that control salt intake and blood pressure,” said Azad Bonni, MD, PhD, the Edison Professor and head of the Department of Neuroscience. “He was known for his generosity, kindness, love of teaching and sense of humor. Arthur will be deeply missed, and his passing is a great loss for the department.”

Loewy earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., followed by his doctoral degree in anatomy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Among his many honors are an established investigator award from the American Heart Association, and a Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Program Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“My father loved being a research scientist and studying the brain,” Adam Loewy said. “He loved his time at Washington University. It really was his true calling, and I am so happy that he was able to do it for more than four decades.”

Loewy was preceded in death by his wife, Arleen Loewy, who also had worked at Washington University. In addition to his son, he is survived by his daughter-in-law, Philippa (Rudolph) Loewy; his long-term girlfriend, Karen Frahm; a grandson; and his daughter-in-law’s parents, Christy Twin and Larry Rudolph.

A celebration of Loewy’s life is being planned for January.

Contributions in his memory may be made to Evelyn’s House, which provided Loewy’s hospice care, at 1000 N. Mason Road, Creve Coeur, Mo. 63141.