CV | Video (1hr. 5min.)
Robert Yates was born on February 28, 1931 in Birmingham, AL. He attended the University of Alabama where he received his Bachelors degree in Biology in 1954. His original plan was to go to medical school however, he was not accepted in the first round so he enrolled in a Master's degree program. He was later accepted into medical school, but decided to go on and complete his MS in Zoology which he did in 1956. He received his PhD in Histology from the University of Alabama Medical Center in 1960 where he was among the first students in the Department of Anatomy. While at the University of Alabama, he enlisted in the ROTC program and reached the rank of second lieutenant.
His first anatomy teaching position was at the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1961 where he became assistant professor in 1964, associate professor in 1967 and achieved full professor status in 1970. He went on to teach anatomy at Tulane University School of Medicine where he served as Chair of the Anatomy Department (later the Department of Structural and Cell Biology) from 1972-2005.
He met his future wife, Jane Congleton, in graduate school where the two shared an office. They married and had 2 children.
Dr. Yates began his research career studying the chromaffin system using light and electron microscopy. He was one of the early adopters of the new and difficult technique of electron microscopy, which at the time was more of an art than a science. He traveled to Harvard to study in the labs of Don Fawcett and his colleagues, and with Russell Barnett and his colleagues at Yale to refine his skills. Dr. Yate's work on the adrenal presented the first published ultrastructural images of adrenal cortical and medullary cells and led to a more complete understanding of their secretory processes. He also studied the arterial wall in the region of the barorecptor nerve terminals to understand the age-related hypertension that sometimes accompanies aging. These studies provided insight into how vascular alterations increase blood pressure. His work on the carotid body offered new insight into the mechanism of action of the chemoreflex of the carotid body. Through these and other studies, Dr. Yates presented nearly 100 papers at national and international meetings, and published 84 peer-reviewed articles in the literature. He published a book in 1977 on the Male Reproductive System.
Dr. Yates has been a member of AAA since 1963. In addition to serving on several committees, he served as Secretary-Treasurer for the Association from 1988-1996 and President from 1999-2001. In 2003, he received AAA's A.J. Ladman Exemplary Service Award. He also served as the Treasurer and Vice-President of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists.