To honor the contributions of Dr. Jack Weller to Nephrology at the University of Michigan, and for his years of service as the Division’s first chief and beyond, our faculty has established the John M. Weller Alumni Society. The society will serve as a forum for all activities relating to University of Michigan Nephrology Alumni.
Dr. Jack Weller
Born March 4, 1919, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Dr. Weller earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan in 1940 and his Doctor of Medicine degree at Harvard in 1943. After a decade in which he completed his residency and taught at Harvard, he returned home to the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in 1953, only to be called away for a year and a half of service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Following his stint in the Army, Dr. Weller resumed his career at the University of Michigan, rising up through the ranks in Nephrology to become a full professor in 1963. He was tapped to become Nephrology’s first Division chief as the growing unit was formed into an independent division of Internal Medicine in 1964. Jack Weller was one of the first division chiefs in the United States, and a pioneer in building Nephrology at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Weller was a general nephrologist whose work focused on electrolyte metabolism, renal physiology and diseases and hypertension. He was co-author of Examination of the Urine (1966); co-editor of Textbook of Clinical Pathology (1971); editor of Fundamentals of Nephrology (1979); and a contributor to numerous chapters of textbooks and articles in scientific journals. A 1982 co-authored paper with Friedrich Port as lead author “Comparing Dialysis Outcomes with Transplant Outcomes,” pioneered what thereafter became a hot new area of research.
Dr. Weller served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Michigan Kidney Foundation, and in 1978 took over as director of the Michigan Kidney Registry, nine years after its founding. He ran the registry until he was forced to step down several months prior to his death from colon cancer in 1984. Shortly thereafter, Friedrich Port, Weller’s successor as director of the registry, and a close mutual colleague, Victor Hawthorne, were funded to expand the registry into a national registry. It became the U.S. Renal Data System. Data from these registries continue to provide valuable insights into chronic conditions which have deteriorated to the point at which renal dialysis or kidney transplant become necessary. Jack Weller was an early force in this small but critical field of clinical and interventional medicine.