The Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases is pleased to announce that Michael P. Whyte, MD, has been appointed emeritus professor in the Washington University John T. Milliken Department of Medicine, effective January 1st, 2022. Whyte has been a member of the Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases for 40 years and has had an extraordinarily successful academic career. He is considered the world-leading expert in the genetics of skeletal disorders and has a global reputation as the go-to expert in rare bone disorders for many years. Working in collaboration with Shriners Hospitals for Children – St. Louis, Whyte established a unique program for advanced research and patient care that has literally defined the field in the past four decades and contributed the foundational knowledge on inborn disorders of skeletal metabolism and skeletal dysplasias. Such knowledge has provided the basis for the development of new therapies for some genetically based bone disorders, particularly osteogenesis imperfecta, hypophosphatasia, and hypophosphatemic rickets.
After his initial appointment as Instructor in Medicine in 1979, Whyte rapidly rose through the ranks at Washington University. He was promoted to Professor of Medicine (1991), Pediatrics (1992), and Genetics (1997). He was the founder (1982) and director of the Metabolic Research Unit, later transformed into the Center for Metabolic Bone Disease and Molecular Research (CMBDMR), Shriners Hospitals for Children – St. Louis, until the center’s closure in 2021.
During his 50-year-long career, Whyte has published over 340 original research articles. To give an idea of his impact, his h-index is 75, with a total of almost 18,000 citations (excluding self-citations), spanning his entire career. In a recent report where a new composite indicator that considers the h-index, co-authorship adjusted hm-index, and citations to papers in different authorship positions, Whyte came in first among 5,832 authors in the Anatomy & Morphology field and ranked in the 5th percentile among all 159,683 authors included in the analysis across all 22 scientific fields. This is an astonishing career accomplishment.
Whyte’s work has had an enormous impact and value on patients and their families with rare bone disorders who have come to rely upon his care for decades. The CMBDMR at Shriners Hospitals for Children – St. Louis has been a global beacon for pediatric metabolic bone diseases. For those patients searching for medical treatment for their disorder, Whyte’s program has provided the knowledge of natural history that is so crucial for assessing the efficacy and safety of medicines subsequently developed for orphan bone diseases.
During his entire career, Whyte has consistently dedicated his time to the educational mission of the Division of Bone and Mineral Diseases by lecturing, actively participating in seminars and conferences, and more importantly, by direct interactions with learners at all levels, from students to faculty. He has mentored physicians and fellows from all over the world, many of whom are now leaders in their countries and are providing top-quality care for the benefit of children affected by devastating metabolic bone diseases all around the world.
Today, Whyte continues to produce impactful research, hinging upon the immense amount of data accumulated over 40 years, and to inspire younger clinicians, scientists, and faculty with his lifelong experience. As an emeritus professor, he will continue contributing to the educational mission of the division, as he has done for his entire career. We are uniquely proud and blessed to have him among our faculty.