Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1954
John F. Enders, Thomas H. Weller, Frederick C. Robbins

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John F. Enders - Facts

John Franklin Enders

John Franklin Enders

Born: 10 February 1897, West Hartford, CT, USA

Died: 8 September 1985, Waterford, CT, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, Research Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA

Prize motivation: "for their discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue"

Field: virology

Prize share: 1/3


Many infectious diseases are caused by viruses - very small biological particles. A virus lacks metabolism of its own and cannot multiply without infecting a living cell. For a long time the prevailing opinion was that viruses could not be cultured in a laboratory. However, in 1941 John Enders, Frederick Robbins, and Thomas Weller succeeded in culturing the virus that causes polio in human muscle and tissue in a laboratory setting. This became an important step on the road toward a vaccine against polio.

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