Hilda Margaret Bruce

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Hilda Bruce
Hilda Bruce (1903-1974).JPG
Hilda Bruce (1903-1974)
Born (1903-04-05)5 April 1903
Died 11 February 1974(1974-02-11) (aged 70)
Residence England
Nationality British
Fields Zoologist
Institutions National Institute for Medical Research
Pharmaceutical Society
Alma mater King's College for Women
Known for Discovering the Bruce effect

Hilda Margaret Bruce (5 April 1903 – 2 November 1974) was a British zoologist, best known for her discovery of the Bruce effect, a pheromonal behaviour observed in many rodent species.

Biography[edit]

Hilda Bruce was born on 5 April 1903. She was educated at St Leonards School.[1] In 1923, she began her tertiary studies at King's College for Women, where she received a B.Sc. in Household and Social Science, and another in Physiology.[1] In 1930, Bruce joined the National Institute for Medical Research at Mount Vernon, Hampstead. Her early research was dedicated towards the understanding of Vitamin D; she also jointly published the first article describing the breeding characteristics of the golden hamster.[2] In 1933, Bruce was employed by the Pharmaceutical Society, where she continued her research on Vitamin D.[1] In 1941, she was appointed to set up the Cod Liver Oil (Poultry) Standardisation Laboratory. In 1944, she returned to the NIMR, where she formulated specialised diets for laboratory animals.[1]

From the early 1950s, Bruce turned her attentions towards sexual behaviour in rodents, particularly the Whitten effect. In 1959, she published her discovery of what is now called the Bruce effect, the termination of pregnancy following exposure to the scent of an unfamiliar male.[3] Bruce retired from the NIMR in 1963, but continued part-time research, variously on nutrients, development and pheromones, at the Department of Investigative Medicine in Cambridge.[1] She continued work at the Department until 1973.[1] In her later years, Bruce largely used a wheelchair, having been afflicted with worsening rheumatoid arthritis since 1942.[1]

Bruce effect[edit]

Main article: Bruce effect

Throughout the 1950s, Bruce studied sexual behaviour in laboratory mice, with a particular interest in oestrus synchronisation.[1] In one experiment, she housed newly mated pregnant females with male mice that were not the father of the carried embryo. As a result, the rate of miscarriages increased, these females subsequently returning to oestrus and mating with the new male.[3] No increased rate of miscarriages occurred when pregnant mice were paired with juvenile or castrated mice.[4]

It was her colleague Alan Parkes who helped her to pursue the initial findings that eventually lead to this discovery.[5]

The National Institute for Medical Research[edit]

Following the isolation of pure vitamin D in 1931, Bruce worked in collaboration with Askew, Philpot and Webster in the Department of Biological Standards, determining the stability of the pure substance.[6] At this time, Bruce was also working with Dr Callow in the Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Biochemistry, determining the healing effect of vitamin D in rats with rickets.[7]

Publications[edit]

  • Bruce, H. M. (1934). "Interaction of vitamin D and dietary factors in the healing of rickets in rats". Biochemical Journal 28 (2): 512–516.
  • Bruce, Hilda M. (1959). "An Exteroceptive Block to Pregnancy in the Mouse". Nature 184 (4680): 105. doi:10.1038/184105a0. PMID 13805128.
  • Bruce, H. M. (1965). "Effect of Castration on the Reproductive Pheromones of Male Mice". Reproduction 10: 141–3. doi:10.1530/jrf.0.0100141. PMID 14337805.
  • Hindle, H. M. Bruce and E. (2010). "The Golden Hamster, Cricetus (Mesocricetus) auratus Waterhouse. Notes on its Breeding and Growth". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 104 (2): 361–6. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1934.tb07757.x.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Parkes, Alan S. (1977). "H. M. Bruce 1903-1974". Reproduction 49 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1530/jrf.0.04900NP-c. PMID 319228. 
  2. ^ Hindle, H. M. Bruce and E. (2010). "The Golden Hamster, Cricetus (Mesocricetus) auratus Waterhouse. Notes on its Breeding and Growth". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 104 (2): 361–6. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1934.tb07757.x. 
  3. ^ a b Bruce, Hilda M. (1959). "An Exteroceptive Block to Pregnancy in the Mouse". Nature 184 (4680): 105. doi:10.1038/184105a0. PMID 13805128. 
  4. ^ Bruce, H. M. (1965). "Effect of Castration on the Reproductive Pheromones of Male Mice". Reproduction 10: 141–3. doi:10.1530/jrf.0.0100141. PMID 14337805. 
  5. ^ Polge, Christopher (2006). "Sir Alan Stirling Parkes 10 September 1900 — 17 July 1990". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 52: 263–283. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2006.0019. 
  6. ^ Report of the Medical Research Council for the Year 1932-1933. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. 1934. p. 65. 
  7. ^ Report of the Medical Research Council for the Year 1932-1933. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. 1934. p. 53.