Edward Provan Cathcart

Biography of Edward Provan Cathcart

Edward Provan Cathcart
Edward Provan Cathcart

Edward Provan Cathcart (1877-1954) was Grieve Lecturer in Physiological Chemistry from 1905 to 1915; Professor of Physiological Chemistry from 1919 to 1929, and Professor of Physiology from 1929 until 1947. The Cathcart Chair of Biochemistry is named for him.

Born in Ayr, Cathcart graduated MB, ChB from the University in 1900 and pursued his studies in Bacteriology and Chemical Pathology in Germany. He worked in the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine from 1902 to 1905, before returning to the University to the new post of Grieve Lecturer. He had received the degree of MD from the University in 1904, with the award of a Bellahouston Gold Medal.

In 1913 Cathcart married a fellow-physiologist, Gertrude D Bostock. She had graduated in 1900 and was only the third female science graduate in the University's history.

Cathcart published influential papers on protein metabolism in man and on the energy requirements of the body, undertaking some of his research with John Boyd Orr. In 1915 he was appointed to the Chair of Physiology in the London Hospital, combining his teaching duties with those of a Lieutenant General in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He returned to the University in 1919 to take the Gardiner Chair of Physiological Chemistry (renamed Biochemistry in 1958). In this post, and subsequently as Professor of Physiology, he concentrated his research on the study of human dietary habits.

Although he served on a number of influential committees on nutrition, Cathcart was best known as the Chairman of the Scottish Health Services Committee from 1933 to 1936. The Cathcart Committee made recommendations that laid the groundwork for the introduction of a National Health Service after the Second World War.

Cathcart represented the University on the General Medical Council from 1933 until 1945. The University awarded him an LLD in 1948.


Edward Provan Cathcart

Born 18 July 1877, Ayr, Scotland.
Died 18 February 1954.
University Link: Alumnus, Honorary Graduate, Lecturer, Professor
GU Degrees: MD, 1904; MB ChB, 1900; LLD, 1948; DSc, 1908;
Occupation categories: physiologists
NNAF Reference: GB/NNAF/P5123
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Record last updated: 3rd Jul 2019

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  • Alumnus
  • Honorary Graduate
  • Lecturer
  • Professor


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