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Marsden S. Blois


University of CA at San Fransisco

Visionary in health informatics; Brought medicine and information science together; Wrote Information and Medicine (1984); Professor of medical information science and dermatology at UC-San Francisco; Interested in theories of information as well as to the structure of descriptors and information processes; Worked with the NLM on a unified medical language.

The following brief biographical sketch appears on the finding aid for his papers:

Dr. Blois’ scientific career began as a biophysicist at Stanford University’s Hansen Laboratories of Applied Physics. Born in 1919, Marsden Scott Blois graduated from the U.S. Naval academy in 1941. He left his position as Director of Naval Research in the late 1940s to pursue a Ph.D. in biophysics at Stanford. In addition to his post doctoral work at the Hansen Laboratories, Blois served as director of Stanford’s biophysics graduate program. By the late 1950s his research on electron spin resonance of biopolymers led to an interest in melanin. To better enable his dermatological inquiries, Blois earned at medical degree at Stanford in the early 1960s and continued his research there. While continuing his affiliations with Stanford, Blois helped establish the Melanoma Clinic and Melanoma Foundation at the University of California, San Francisco in the late 1960s. His determination to better facilitate treatment and medical research led to his exploration of medical informatics. From the early 1970s until his death in 1988, Dr. Blois was a leader in the development of medical informatics, serving as editor to MedComp, writing and speaking on theories of medical description, and chairing the incipient Department of Medical Information Sciences at UCSF.

National Library of Medicine, Marsden Scott Blois, Papers,1947-1989

12 boxes (10 linear feet); finding aid available at: