Thomas H. Weller


Thomas Huckle Weller

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Thomas Huckle Weller
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1954

Born: 15 June 1915, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Died: 23 August 2008, Needham, MA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: 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”

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 Frederick Robbins, John Enders, 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.

To cite this section
MLA style: Thomas H. Weller – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Mon. 25 Sep 2023. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Coming up

This year’s Nobel Prize announcements will take place 2–9 October. All announcements will be streamed live here on

See the full schedule
Announcement dates

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.