Established in 1997 by Rowena Spencer in memory of her father

LEWIS CASS SPENCER, Med 1911, was the first orthopaedic resident at the School of Medicine and the first orthopaedic surgeon in Louisiana, where he spent his entire career, after a tour of duty in England and France as a captain in the United States Army. He spent 20 years in private practice, including a part-time position on the staff of the Tulane University School of Medicine. He then entered public health and was successful in convincing the state legislature to begin the Crippled Children's Program, which is still functioning today. Dr. Spencer received a master's degree in public health and tropical medicine at Tulane in 1948 and for many years was director of the Louisiana State Department of Health. He died in 1975 at the age of 87.


His daughter, ROWENA SPENCER, Med 1947, followed her father's path to Johns Hopkins and became the first woman to intern in surgery at Hopkins, the first woman surgeon, and the first pediatric surgeon in Louisiana, and the first pediatric surgeon in the nation to have a full-time university appointment. In addition to her successful private practice, Dr. Spencer served on the staff of Louisiana State and Tulane universities and became a pioneer in the surgery of newborn conjoined twins. She has spent her years in retirement researching and writing a book about these infants.


Dr. THOMAS CLEMENS is the Lewis Cass Spencer Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and the director of Johns Hopkins’ Center for Musculoskeletal Research. After receiving his PhD in biochemistry from the University of London, Dr. Clemens completed postdoctoral training as a research fellow in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was then an associate professor in medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he founded a masters program in biomedical sciences, as well as a professor of medicine at the University of Cincinnati where he directed the pathobiology and molecular medicine graduate program.

Focusing his research on identification of the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling bone osteoblast activity, Dr. Clemens’ lab studies the mechanisms of action of insulin, insulin-like growth factor, and growth hormone in bone and skeletal muscle. Mice and their cells with specific alterations in the components of these pathways have been created and are being used to identify the interplay between these growth factors. In a separate project, Dr. Clemens is investigating the hypothesis that the osteoblast and osteocytes are positioned in bone to sense and respond to fluctuations in oxygen and nutrient supply and, thereby, play key roles in the regulation of angiogenesis and blood flow under normal physiological conditions and in response to pathological signals. Osteoblast cell models and genetically-altered mice are used to study the role of hypoxia inducible factors during bone development and following skeletal injury. This information will then be used to generate new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.

Dr. Clemens has authored 130 original publications, in addition to a number of editorials and book chapters. He served as a council member of American Society of Bone and Mineral Research and was the program co-chair for the 2002 national meeting. Dr. Clemens is the current editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.