Obituary: Philip E. Cryer, former director of endocrinology division, 84

Philip E. Cryer, MD, a professor emeritus and former longtime director of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Feb. 24, 2024, at a hospital in St. Louis following a heart attack. He was 84.


Cryer joined the faculty at Washington University in 1971. As a distinguished researcher, clinician and teacher, he led the School of Medicine’s General Clinical Research Center from 1973-2006. He became a professor of medicine in 1981 and went on to direct the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research from 1985-2002. He was installed as the Irene E. and Michael M. Karl Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 1985, a title he kept until he retired in 2014.

“Dr. Philip Cryer was an accomplished clinical endocrinologist and teacher who devoted his career to patient-oriented research and was known internationally for defining the mechanisms that correct hypoglycemia,” said Clay Semenkovich, MD, director of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research. “His many contributions included the discovery of hypoglycemia unawareness, a life- threatening disorder that occurs in many forms of diabetes. His development of therapeutic approaches for this condition decreased the suffering of countless people with diabetes.”

In his many years at Washington University, Cryer made a point to acknowledge his research sponsors, mentors, collaborators, technicians, research nurses and colleagues, and particularly the 42 postdoctoral fellows with whom he worked.

He is survived by his children, Philip C. Cryer and Justine L. Cryer Dugan; his stepchildren, Anthony V. Havlin, Krista V. Havlin, and Rebecca Havlin Everhart; six grandchildren; and one great grandchild.

A visitation and memorial service will be held from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary, 6464 Chippewa St., St. Louis.

Memorial contributions may be made to the endocrinology division in the Department of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine.

Read the full obituary on the School of Medicine website.

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