John Franklin Enders

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John Franklin Enders

John Franklin Enders nobel.jpg
Born(1897-02-10)February 10, 1897
DiedSeptember 8, 1985(1985-09-08) (aged 88)
Alma mater Yale University
Harvard University
Known forculturing poliovirus, isolating measlesvirus, developing measles vaccine
Awards Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1954)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1954)

John Franklin Enders (February 10, 1897 – September 8, 1985) was an American biomedical scientist and Nobel Laureate. Enders has been called "The Father of Modern Vaccines." [1] [2]


Life and education

Enders was born in West Hartford, Connecticut. His father, John Ostrom Enders, was CEO of the Hartford National Bank and left him a fortune of $19 million upon his death. He attended the Noah Webster School in Hartford, and St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. After attending Yale University a short time, he joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1918 as a flight instructor and a lieutenant.

West Hartford, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

West Hartford is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States, 5 miles (8.0 km) west of downtown Hartford. The population was 63,268 at the 2010 census.

St. Pauls School (Concord, New Hampshire) boarding school in New Hampshire, United States

St. Paul's School is a highly selective college-preparatory, coeducational boarding school in Concord, New Hampshire, affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) New Hampshire campus currently serves 534 students, who come from all over the United States and the world.

Concord, New Hampshire capital of New Hampshire

Concord is the capital city of the U.S. state of New Hampshire and the county seat of Merrimack County. As of the 2010 census, its population was 42,695.

After returning from World War I, he graduated from Yale, where he was a member of Scroll and Key as well as Delta Kappa Epsilon. He went into real estate in 1922, and tried several careers before choosing the biomedical field with a focus on infectious diseases, gaining a Ph.D. at Harvard in 1930. He later joined the faculty at Children's Hospital Boston. [3]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Scroll and Key

The Scroll and Key Society is a secret society, founded in 1842 at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut. It is one of the oldest Yale secret societies and reputedly the most wealthy. The society is one of the reputed "Big Three" societies at Yale, along with Skull and Bones and Wolf's Head Society. Each spring the society admits fifteen rising seniors to participate in its activities and carry on its traditions.

Delta Kappa Epsilon North American collegiate fraternity

Delta Kappa Epsilon (ΔΚΕ), commonly known as DKE or Deke, is one of the oldest North American fraternities, with 56 active chapters across America and Canada. The fraternity was founded at Yale College in 1844 by 15 sophomores who were disaffected by the existing houses on campus. They established a fellowship "where the candidate most favored was he who combined in the most equal proportions the gentleman, the scholar, and the jolly good fellow."

Enders died in 1985 in Waterford, Connecticut, aged 88, holding honorary doctoral degrees from 13 universities. [4]

Waterford, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

Waterford is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. It is named after Waterford, Ireland. The population was 19,517 at the 2010 census. The town center is listed as a census-designated place (CDP) and had a population of 2,887 at the 2010 census.

Biomedical career

In 1949, Enders, Thomas Huckle Weller, and Frederick Chapman Robbins reported successful in vitro culture of an animal viruspoliovirus. [5] The three received the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discovery of the ability of polioviruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue".

Thomas Huckle Weller American virologist

Thomas Huckle Weller was an American virologist. He, John Franklin Enders and Frederick Chapman Robbins were awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954 for showing how to cultivate poliomyelitis viruses in a test tube, using a combination of human embryonic skin and muscle tissue.

Frederick Chapman Robbins American doctor

Frederick Chapman Robbins was an American pediatrician and virologist. He was born in Auburn, Alabama, and grew up in Columbia, Missouri, attending David H. Hickman High School.

<i>In vitro</i> test-tube experiments

In vitro studies are performed with microorganisms, cells, or biological molecules outside their normal biological context. Colloquially called "test-tube experiments", these studies in biology and its subdisciplines are traditionally done in labware such as test tubes, flasks, Petri dishes, and microtiter plates. Studies conducted using components of an organism that have been isolated from their usual biological surroundings permit a more detailed or more convenient analysis than can be done with whole organisms; however, results obtained from in vitro experiments may not fully or accurately predict the effects on a whole organism. In contrast to in vitro experiments, in vivo studies are those conducted in animals, including humans, and whole plants.

Meanwhile, Jonas Salk applied the Enders-Weller-Robbins technique to produce large quantities of poliovirus, and then developed a polio vaccine in 1952. Upon the 1954 polio vaccine field trial, whose success Salk announced on the radio, [6] Salk became a public hero but failed to credit the many other researchers that his effort rode upon, and was somewhat shunned by America's scientific establishment. [7]

Jonas Salk Inventor of polio vaccine

Jonas Edward Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist. He discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. Born in New York City, he attended the City College of New York and New York University School of Medicine, later choosing to do medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician. In 1939, after earning his medical degree, Salk began an internship as a physician scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital. Two years later he was granted a fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he would study flu viruses with his mentor Thomas Francis, Jr.

Polio vaccine vaccine to prevent poliomyelitis

Polio vaccines are vaccines used to prevent poliomyelitis (polio). Two types are used: an inactivated poliovirus given by injection (IPV) and a weakened poliovirus given by mouth (OPV). The World Health Organization recommends all children be fully vaccinated against polio. The two vaccines have eliminated polio from most of the world, and reduced the number of cases reported each year from an estimated 350,000 in 1988 to 33 in 2018.

In 1954, Enders and Peebles isolated measlesvirus from an 11-year-old boy, David Edmonston. [8] Disappointed by polio vaccine's development and involvement in some cases of polio and death—what Enders attributed to Salk's technique—Enders began development of measles vaccine. [8] In October 1960, an Enders team began trials on 1,500 mentally retarded children in New York City and on 4,000 children in Nigeria. [9]

On September 17, 1961, The New York Times announced the measles vaccine effective. [9] Refusing credit for only himself, Enders stressed the collaborative nature of the effort. [9] In 1963, Pfizer introduced a deactivated measles vaccine, and Merck & Co introduced an attenuated measles vaccine.


Bust of John Enders in the Polio Hall of Fame Enders2.jpg
Bust of John Enders in the Polio Hall of Fame

See also

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  1. 1 2 Tyrrell, D. A. J. (1987). "John Franklin Enders. 10 February 1897-8 September 1985". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society . 33: 212–226. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1987.0008. JSTOR   769951.
  2. Katz SL (2009). "John F. Enders and measles virus vaccine—a reminiscence". Measles. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. 329. p. 3. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-70523-9_1. ISBN   978-3-540-70522-2.
  3. "John F. Enders - Biographical". Nobel Media. 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  4. Thomas H Weller & Frederick C Robb, A Biographical Memoir: John Franklin Enders (1897–1985) , (Washington DC: National Academy of Sciences, 1991), p 62.
  5. Enders JF, Weller TH, Robbins FC (1949). "Cultivation of the Lansing strain of poliomyelitis virus in cultures of various human embryonic tissues". Science. 109 (2822): 85–87. doi:10.1126/science.109.2822.85. PMID   17794160.
  6. "Salk announces polio vaccine" Archived 2010-02-11 at the Wayback Machine . 2010. Retrieved 31 Jan 2010.
  7. Balik R, "On this day: Polio vaccine declared safe", FindingDulcinea, 12 Apr 2011.
  8. 1 2 Baker JP (2011). "The first measles vaccine". Pediatrics. 128 (3): 435–7. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-1430.
  9. 1 2 3 Bakalar N, "First mention: Measles vaccine, 1960", New York Times, 5 Oct 2010, p D2.
  10. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 Apr 2011.