Born in Texas (USA) in 1931, John S. Fordtran obtained his BA in biology from the University of Texas in 1952 and MD from Tulane University in 1956. He was trained in New Orleans, Dallas and Boston before joining the faculty at the University of Texas Southern Medical School and Parkland Hospital as Professor of Internal Medicine.
In 1991, he joined Baylor University as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine and President of the Research Institute at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Texas. The John S. Fordtran Diagnostic Center for Digestive Diseases, which is named in his honor, is one of only two such centers in the world that offer advanced diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases and cancers.
Fordtran is the co-author of one of the finest texts in gastro-enterology: Sleisinger and Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis and Management. This monumental text in 200 chapters, totaling 1160 pages, has been re-published several times. Other books authored or edited by Fordtran include: Atlas of Clinical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy; Gastrointestinal Disease and Secretory Diarrhea.
Professor Fordran is one of the world’s superlative investigators in the field of gastroenterology. He started his research in the 1950’s when he was still a medical student at Taulane University, and continued in that field over the next fifty years. His fundamental studies into the physiology of the intestinal tract gained him international recognition. His research on the mechanisms of transportation of fluids and ions across the epithelial lining of the intestinal tract and the role of glucose in facilitating transport, has been instrumental in understanding the mechanisms of water and salt absorption by the human intestine. This has led to a new physiological approach to the classification of diarrheal diseases and formed the basis for their rational treatment.
In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Medicine, Professor Fordtran was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the American Gastroenterological Association and the Southern Medical Association Prize. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom and member of several medical societies. He is also a past President of the American Society of Clinical Studies and member of the editorial boards of a number of medical journals.