Dr. Lahiri, Physiology

Dr. Sukhamay Lahiri, professor emeritus of physiology in the School of Medicine, passed away on May 2, 2009, at age 76.

Born in what now is Bangladesh, Dr. Lahiri earned his BS, MS and PhD degrees in physiology from Calcutta University. Subsequently, he earned an additional PhD from Oxford University.

Dr. Lahiri came to the US on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1965 where he worked at the Downstate Medical Center in New York City and the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago before coming to Penn in 1969 as an associate professor of environmental physiology. He was promoted to professor of physiology in 1981.

Dr. Lahiri’s research on high-altitude physiology and medicine took him on several research expeditions to Mount Everest. Most notably, in 1960 he accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary on the famous, “Himalayan Scientific and Mountaineering Expedition” better known as the Silver Hut Expedition. During this trip Dr. Lahiri took part in experiments in the Silver Hut, a temperature-controlled room where research on human acclimatization to very high altitude was conducted. The Silver Hut Expedition had a crucial effect on his career and has stimulated further research in the field of hypoxia. Dr. Lahiri also went on numerous other research trips to the Himalayas and the Andes.

A renowned scholar, Dr. Lahiri received the Humboldt Research Award for a Senior U.S. Scientist in 1997. He also earned a MERIT Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in 1996 and authored more than 120 publications.

Dr. Lahiri is survived by his wife, Krishna; 3 brothers, 7 sisters, 3 brothers-in-laws, 2 sisters-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews including Arjun, Anasuya, and Ishan.

Friends and colleagues are invited to a Hindu Sraddh Ceremony at 3 p.m.today at the family’s home, 311 Llandrillo Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Institute for Cancer Research, Department IHW1, 1759 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009.