Mabel Purkerson, MD
Mabel Louise Purkerson was born April 3, 1931 in Goldville, South Carolina. She graduated from Erskine College in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree and earned her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston in 1956. She completed a pediatric residency and a fellowship in pediatric metabolism at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Purkerson’s research focus was renal physiology, notably kidney pathophysiology and pathophysiology of acute and chronic renal failure utilizing experimental models of renal disease.
Purkerson was appointed to the Washington University faculty in 1961 as an instructor of pediatrics. Following an advanced traineeship in the renal division of the Department of Medicine, she was appointed instructor of medicine in 1966 and advanced to assistant professor of medicine in 1967. Purkerson was chief of nephrology on the Washington University Medical Service at John Cochran Veterans Administration Medical Center (1973-76). She served as associate professor and professor of medicine before becoming professor emerita in 1998.
Her administrative appointments at Washington University School of Medicine included associate dean for curriculum and associate dean for academic projects. In 1976, Purkerson became the first woman to serve on the dean’s staff in the School of Medicine.