Lynne Reid, M.D., has served as a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and pathologist-in-chief emeritus at Children's Hospital in Boston. She has received numerous commendations for her work and has held a series of distinguished appointments in Britain, Australia, and the United States.
From about age 6 or 7, Lynne Reid wanted to be a doctor. Her father's arm had been wounded during his service in World War I, and as a child she and her sister played doctor and nurse with him. As the eldest, she usually took the role of doctor. Her parents supported her plans to become a physician, although at school in England she remembers it was "not considered quite right for a girl." Her family, who had moved to England temporarily, moved back to Australia where Reid was born, and she enrolled in medical school. She graduated from The University of Melbourne School of Medicine in 1946. She completed her internship and residency in Australia, as well as a postdoctoral research fellowship, from 1949 to 1951, at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
During her career in research, Dr. Reid sometimes noticed some resistance from her colleagues. Part-time work or a job as a school physician was considered more appropriate, especially for married women, but nonetheless she was able to earn appointments at the very top of her field, often as the first woman to do so.
Dr. Reid's first academic appointment was as a research assistant at the Institute of Diseases of the Chest at London University. She was appointed a professor of experimental pathology at London University in 1967, and was made dean of the Cardiothoracic Institute at London University in 1973. She accepted a position on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1976, as one of the school's few women faculty members.
Dr. Reid's research has centered on thoracic medicine, including anatomical studies of the structure of lungs. In Australia her early work focused on bronchiectasisa pathological widening of the bronchi and their branches within the lungs. When she moved to London her research turned to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, especially the pathological changes associated with these diseases. She studied the physical and chemical nature of mucous produced in these diseases, and the variety of cell types producing mucous. Later, her work expanded to research into pulmonary hypertension and the study of how lungs grow, particularly in cases where a patient has congenital heart disease.
Dr. Reid's career has encompassed an impressive number of firsts. She was the first woman to achieve the rank of professor of experimental pathology in England; the first woman dean of the Institute of Diseases of the Chest, London University; the first dean of the Cardiothoracic Institute, London University; the first pathologist to receive a research grant from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO); and the first pathologist to be an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists. For twenty-five years, Dr. Reid was the only woman member of the Fleischner Society, an organization founded in 1969 to promote recognition and development of chest roentgenology as a clinical specialty.
Dr. Reid has won numerous awards and lectured all over the world. In the United States she has served on the American Heart Association's Council of Cardiopulmonary Diseases, the National Institutes of Health's Respiratory and Applied Physiology Review Group, and the Pulmonology Disease Committee of the National Institutes of Health. She has chaired Harvard's Joint Committee on the Status of Women.