Prof. Keith L Moore, BA, MSC, PhD, DSc (Hon), FIAC, FRSM, FAAA
I have been asked the same questions from students around the world. My answers to the most asked questions are:
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A CLINICAL ANATOMIST? When I was studying for a Bachelor of Arts (General Course), I dissected cats, fish, mice, turtles and rats. I was fascinated by the differences in their functional anatomy. After I graduated, I decided to study human anatomy. I went to a seminar given by Mike Bertram on "The Sex Chromatin in Cats". Mike, a graduate student, was studying with Dr. Barr, the Head of the Anatomy Department. After the seminar, I approached Mike and Dr. Barr and asked them if I could join their research group. Dr. Barr said he would be glad to have me work with him and study for a Master of Science. That's what got me started in the amazing field of anatomy.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DID YOU DO? After receiving my doctorate, I continued my study of the morphology of cell nuclei, with special reference to the sex chromatin. I received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Cancer Institute of Canada to study the sex chromatin in cells of human benign and malignant tumors. Thereafter, my research was concerned with the causes and prevention of congenital anomalies (birth defects). My work led to innovative methods for the detection of numerical chromosomal anomalies. I was the first one to recognize that males with the Klinefelter Syndrome had an extra X chromosome (that is XXY instead of the normal XY). In 1965, I developed a buccal smear chromatin test that is used for the detection of numerical chromosomal abnormalities This test is also used for the determination of the gender of neonates who have ambiguous external genitalia.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TEACH EMBRYOLOGY AND GROSS ANATOMY? I started to learn human anatomy in 1950. At that time, 600 hours were devoted to gross anatomy and Gray's Anatomy (30th ed.) was the recommended book. I was overwhelmed but I tried to learn by asking the professors for help; for example "What is the clinical relevance of the visceral pleura of the lungs"? They would say "You will learn this later in the course". When I told Dr. Barr about this, he said: "I will arrange for you to dissect with a resident in surgery who is studying the anatomical details that he needs when he becomes a surgeon". I was very pleased because as we dissected, he explained why a thorough knowledge of anatomy was essential. Several months later, he invited me to observe some of his surgical procedures. This is when I decided I wanted to teach embryology and gross anatomy.
HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN? I have published 13 books. My first book "The Sex Chromatin" was published in 1966. My embryology books were published in the 70s: The Developing Human (TDH) and Before We are Born (BWAB). TDH is now in the 9th edition and BWAB is in the 8th edition. TDH was written for medical, dental, and physiotherapy students and BWAB was written for allied health science students. Some students who use TDH also read BWAB so they can have a review of the essentials of embryology before an examination. My gross anatomy books were published in the 80s; the 7th edition of Clinically Oriented Anatomy (COA) will be published in the spring of 2013, and the 5th edition of Essential Clinical Anatomy (ECA) will be published in the spring of 2014. These books are now best sellers but COA is the most popular of all my books.
YOUR BOOKS ARE EASY TO READ; HOW DID YOU LEARN TO WRITE SO WELL?
It was not easy!! First, I had to learn more than what I learned in the anatomy course. I had to learn the practical applications of anatomical knowledge to clinical problem-solving (e.g., in devising a surgical solution). I went to clinical rounds (seminars) at the hospital and learned about practical applications related to human structure. I also observed many postmortems and learned about gross and microscopic anatomy of organs and tissues. When I first started, I had to write and rewrite each page several times. With the help of my wife, Marion, who was studying for a Bachelor of Arts, I learned how to write clearly. She would read what I wrote and make suggestions that would make the book student friendly. One day she came home and showed me her psychology book that had yellow boxes containing clinical comments. She suggested that I do this with my book. I did this and now students world wide call them blue boxes because of the blue background of the boxes. Illustrations of injuries (e.g., to nerves and bones) are shown in several boxes.
WHAT HOBBIES AND INTERESTS DO YOU HAVE? I like to play golf 2-3 times a week. I used to curl, a sport in which players slide round stones (about 40 pounds) across a sheet of ice towards a target. I do not curl now because I go to Florida in the winter to enjoy the sun and golf. I like to watch all kinds of sports and movies on TV (e.g., foot ball, basket ball, golf and boxing). I also do things I have always wanted to do (e.g., zip lining and parasailing). I also like to travel around the world. After anatomy meetings, I had the opportunity to visit the Galapagos Islands and the Great Wall of China. I also enjoy meeting students from around the world (see the picture).