Basal Metabolic Rate Established
Dr. Walter Boothby and his first assistant, Irene Sandiford, arrived at Mayo Clinic from Boston in 1917 to establish a laboratory of basal metabolism. Their original focus was on metabolism of patients with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
When Dr. Boothby left Mayo Clinic for military service, Sandiford continued the work of the laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Henry Plummer. She received her Ph.D. about the same time Dr. Boothby returned to the clinic in 1919. Drs. Boothby and Sandiford collaborated to develop reliable laboratory procedures for determining basal metabolic rate. Their goal was to establish a criteria for determining the normal rate of metabolism, a research effort that required measuring the metabolic rate of thousands of people. Their fundamental work on the subject was published in a laboratory manual in 1920.