The Dark History of Research: The Monster Experiment

Contributed by Grandee Dang, Class of 2019

Throughout the course of history, great strides in medicinal discoveries have led to longer life spans and disease prevention. From Jonas Salk who developed the polio vaccine that nearly eradicated the crippling polio disease, to the varicella vaccine still used to day, such monumental discoveries will continue to leave a beacon of hope within the field of health and science (1). However, on the borders that lie beyond that bright beacon of hope are dark patches in medicinal history that so many have either forgotten or have yet unearth. One dark patch is an Iowa study that was also known as the “Monster Experiment” in which several orphan children with speech impediments underwent a social experiment in hopes of correcting their stuttering behavior (2).  The outcome of such experimentation brought forth the ethical issues regarding case studies and the subject matter being observed. Furthermore, the fact that children were the primary participants, the controversy of long term or irreversible psychological damages became the forefront of debate and conversation.


The Soldiers and Sailors Orphanage (4)

In 1938 at the University of Iowa, American psychologist Wendell Johnson and his subordinate Mary Tudor conducted an experiment to observe how different approaches in social therapy would affect a child’s outcome within their speech (2). The pools of twenty-two participants were selected from Iowa’s “Sailors and Soldiers Orphanage,” in which the children were led to believe that they would undergo a form of “speech therapy” (2). Five of Mary Tudor’s colleagues agreed to act as judges in encouraging any positive behaviors or isolating any negative speech patterns (2). Ten children from the pool of twenty-two that were deemed as “stutterers” from the orphanage were subdivided into two subgroups, group 1A and group 1B. Those who have fallen under group 1A were told that “they were not stutterers” and those under group 1B were “endorsed the label” as “stutterers” by the judges (2). The remaining twelve children had no history of speech impediments, but were subdivided into two groups (2A and 2B) that underwent the same labeling and behavioral encouragement from the judges. The study was designed to observe how direct encouragement and “labeling” would affect a child’s speech patterns (2).  Essentially Tudor wanted to see if labeling a child as a “stutterer” or “non-stutter” would have any changes to those who had a speech impediment versus those who had normal speech behaviors (2). The judges would encourage positive reinforcement among the 1A and 2B sub groups while the 1B and 2A sub groups were often isolated or directly projected as having “a great deal of trouble” in speech regardless whether or not they had a speech impediment (2).

The experiment ultimately left several of the children with detrimental psychological effects. Norma Jean Pugh was a six-year-old participant with no speech impediment prior to the experiment, however after the studies were conducted, she “could barely speak” (3).  Nine year-old Elizabeth Ostert among other children noticed a “plummet” in academic performance and became recluse due to “fear of speaking” (3). The monster experiment showed when issues of ethics are not navigated thoroughly, the ending results can fall off course into inhumane consequences. The foundation of new therapies and medicinal advances is rooted in cases studies and experimentation. However, when the progress of medicine overshadows human ethics, the field of health and sciences becomes the very monsters they wish to eradicate.


  1. “About Jonas Salks – Salk Institute for Biological Studies”. Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Retrieved 2016-10-25. <;
  1. Tudor, Mary (1939).An Experimental Study of the Effect of Evaluative Labeling of Speech Fluency. University of Iowa. Retrieved 2016-10-25. <;
  1. Dyer, Jim.”Ethic and Orphans: ‘The Monster Study'”. Mercury News. Mercury News. Retrieved 25 September
  1. “Iowa Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home”. Wikimedia Commons. Free Media Historic Repository. <;

Historical Perspectives: Father of Vaccine Development

Contributed by Hassan Aboutaam, Class of 2019

Many people are very grateful for the work of Maurice Hilleman, who can be credited with helping many lives. “Dr. Hilleman probably saved more lives than any other scientist in the 20th century, said two medical leaders, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Paul A. Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (Lawrence K. Altman 2005)”. He helped develop around 40 vaccines, 8 of which are recommended, including those for chicken pox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, and rubella.

Dr. Hilleman was the youngest of eight children and grew up on a farm in Miles City, Montana.  Working with chickens as a young boy really contributed to his success, since the 1930s fertile chicken eggs have often been used to grow viruses for vaccines. With the help of family and scholarships, he graduated with a doctoral degree in microbiology in 1944 and wrote his doctoral thesis on chlamydia infections, where he showed that these infections were caused by a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis.


Dr. Hilleman’s first accomplishment happened after joining E.R Squibb & Sons, where he led the development of a vaccine against Japanese B encephalitis, which treated troops in the Pacific area after World War 2. Dr. Hilleman was also the chief of Respiratory Diseases at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1948-1957. During that time, he invented the term shift and drift, which occurs when the influenza virus mutates. This discovery helped create forty million doses of vaccines during the 1957 outbreak of influenza in Hong King which saved many lives.

In 1957, Hilleman joined Merck & Co. in the virus and cell biology research department. He developed forty experimental and licensed animal and human vaccines. In 1963, he made the mumps vaccine by cultivating material from his daughter Jeryl Lynn, who was sick with the mumps. Today, the Jerly Lynn strain is still used, as well as the MMR vaccine, which he also discovered. Furthermore, by treating blood serum with pepsin, urea, and formaldehyde, Hilleman and his group invented a vaccine for hepatitis B. However, it was replaced by a vaccine that was produced in yeast, which is still used today. The disease is believed to have decreased by 95% in the United States. Dr. Hilleman had a major goal of developing a vaccine against any viral cancer. In the 1970’s, he revolutionized the poultry industry by developing a vaccine to prevent Marek’s disease, which was a lymphoma cancer of chickens.  He continued on to become an advisor to the world health organization. After his retirement in 1984, he directed the Merck Institute of Vaccinolgy for 20 years before he died on April 11, 2005.

 Works Cited

“Lawrence K. Altman, Maurice Hilleman, Master in Creating Vaccines, Dies at 85, The New York Times, n.p., April 12, 2015”

 “Hilleman, Maurice Ralph.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2006. (2006). Hilleman, Maurice Ralph. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from











Fighting TB: The Baccillus Calmette-Guerin Vaccine

Contributed by Leila Fleming, Class of 2019

calmetteguerinTwo French born scientists, Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin, developed the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine.  It is often referred to as the BCG vaccine, an immunization against tuberculosis (TB).  Albert Calmette was born in Paris in 1933 and was a pupil of Louis Pasteur.  He is also credited with developing a diagnostic test for tuberculosis.  His co-developer, Camille Guerin actually studied to be a veterinarian.  Guerin’s father died of tuberculosis in 1882 as well as his wife in 1918.  This loss presumably motivated Guerin in his work toward a vaccine.

The two found that successive cultures of the bacteria weakened it enough that it could produce an immune response but not illness.  Their research began in 1905 but was interrupted by the upheaval of the First World War.  The vaccine was first used in humans in 1921.

By the late 1920’s the vaccine had reached numerous countries.  The BCG vaccine has been a source of some controversy.  In 1930, over two hundred infants were given a contaminated batch of the vaccine.  Seventy-two children developed TB and died.  Criminal charges were filed and two employees of the lab that manufactured this batch were sent to prison for their negligence.  While the vaccine was not to blame, this did cause a blemish on its reputation.

Today, the vaccine is widely used in children as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) immunization program. The BCG is not recommended for Americans but it still in use in many countries with higher risk of contracting the infection. Tuberculosis is prevalent in South-East Asia, the Western Pacific and Africa.  The BCG remains the only available vaccine against TB.



“Albert Calmette | French Bacteriologist”. Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“BCG Vaccine | Current Use & Safety”. TB N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“BCG Vaccine | Medicine”. Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.


“Camille Guerin | French Biologist”. Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“Camille Guérin”. Wikipedia. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“History Of The BCG Vaccine | Calmette, Guerin, Lubeck”. TB N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

“Timeline”. Tuberculosis: <br />Finding a Cure. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Sept. 2016. (photo)

“Tuberculosis (TB)”. World Health Organization. N.p., 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.



Historical Perspectives: Maurice Brodie & The Fight Against Polio

Contributed by Brandon Gray, Class of 2019

Maurice Brodie was a young Canadian researcher that was hired by the University of New York in 1935 because of his knowledge and current work on a killed-virus polio vaccine.  He was recruited by William H. Park who was a professor of bacteriology at the University of New York Medical School.  This recruitment greatly helped in solving a medical breakthrough regarding the horrible disease of polio.

Brodie’s work along with his ideas had potential, which is a large reason why he was recruited by New York University.  He used the nerve tissue of infected monkeys to extract the virus, which turned out to be the only available source.  Brodie attempted to deactivate the virus by injecting a formaldehyde agent without ruining its ability to produce antibodies that would fight the disease.  However, not much was known at this time about the polio virus.  Even though there was not much known about polio at the time, Brodie still had the support of Park, which gave him the boost of confidence that was needed to attack this disease.


Maurice Brodie (

Having the support of Park meant that Brodie had access to funding and guidance.  First, Brodie quarantined 20 monkeys with his vaccine, and several of the monkeys showed promising results.  This is because they produced antibodies against the polio virus that was inactivated.  Also, not one monkey contracted polio.  At this point, Brodie was under the impression that his vaccine was completely safe.  Therefore, he gave himself and five colleagues the vaccine, and then gave it to several children whom created polio antibodies without developing polio.

After all this success, Brodie was highly confident in his vaccine.  As a result of being so confident, a year later, Brodie gave thousands of children his vaccine.  In November 1935, Maurice Brodie was given the opportunity to report his results to several doctors and scientists in St. Louis, Missouri.  His trial had included vaccinated and un-vaccinated children, and also a control group, which helped Brodie see if he was actually successful or not.  Brodie’s statistics included that his vaccine was “88% effective” in preventing polio.  After this meeting, Brodie was relieved from his job at New York University and was not able to contribute to polio research again.  Maurice Brodie died at the very young age of thirty-six in May 1939.

In conclusion, Maurice Brodie was a brilliant individual who was one of the first to develop a polio vaccine.  Brodie greatly advanced the research of the polio disease. He was the first to successfully deactivate the polio virus by using a formaldehyde agent.  His research showed great success in the fact that in children, when given the vaccine, developed polio antibodies that would fight the disease.  After Brodie’s trials had concluded, it was several years before anyone had tried to make a further advance in the field.  Jonas Salk was the one who used Brodie’s ideas and findings to further help advance the field.  If it wasn’t for Maurice Brodie and his advancement in this field, the accomplishments that were further made with the eradication of polio may not have happened as quickly.

Works Cited:

1.”The Cutter Incident”. Google Books. N.p., 2005. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

2. “Poliomyelitis: A Brief History”. N.p., 2014. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

3. Dagutis, Schalene, Schalene Dagutis, and View profile. “Polio — The Summer Scourge”. N.p., 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.






Past, Present and Future of HIV Vaccine Development

Contributed by Allison Adams, Class of 2019

Since 1984, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been identified to be the cause of AIDS. At that time, Margaret Heckler, the U.S. HHS Secretary, was confident that there would be an effective vaccine ready for testing within the upcoming years. By 1987, the National Institute of Health (NIH) held the first HIV vaccine clinical trial testing the protein called gp160. The trials were quickly diminished however, due to the lack of scientific advancements at the time. The following year, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases started enrollment in Phase I clinical trials and was able to launch Phase II in 1992 that included patients with a high-risk behavioral past who were not yet infected.  By 1993, NIAID combined forces with HIVNET and began striving to start Phase III trials (2).

aidsWhile the progress on this front continued, in 1998, VaxGen Inc. began conducting the world’s first Phase III clinical trials with their product, AIDSVAX. Unfortunately, the results gathered in 2004 were dismal; no efficacy for prevention was detected. By 2009, there were promising results from a Phase III trial on a combination vaccine being conducted in Thailand known as the RV144 using gp120. In those results, four out of ten HIV infections were prevented that would have otherwise happened. While this just 31% efficacious, it left scientists under the impression that there were further opportunities for this vaccine (2).

Continuous studies were made and by 2012, scientists were beginning to use samples from RV144 to try and get a better understanding on what type of immune response that might be needed for an effective vaccine. Building upon these analyses, a Phase I/II study began in 2015 on the vaccine called HVTN 100 (1). This study is to continue on until January 2017 and has already been approved for Phase III efficacy trials (HVTN 702 modified from HVTN 100) based on the interim results from July of 2016.

The latest modification in the vaccine, an adjuvant called MF59, has been added in order to increase the vaccine’s strength as well as the protein involved to match the most common strain of HIV located in South Africa, where the efficacy trials will be taking place (3). HVTN 702 is also known as ALVAC-HIV and is scheduled to start in November 2016.

If these trials can produce results at least 50% efficacious, HVTN 702 will become a licensed preventative HIV vaccine. With the technological advancements that have been made in the past fifty years, the world is teetering on the verge of success in creating a vaccine that will have the capability to prevent a multitude of HIV infections each year (3).


  1. (2016). Retrieved 26 September 2016, from
  2. History of HIV Vaccine Research | NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2016). Retrieved 26 September 2016, from
  3. HVTN 702 is a “Go” Uhambo continues. (2016). Retrieved 26 September 2016, from


Historical Perspectives: The Tuskegee Experiment

Contributed by Michael Okebugwu, Class of 2019

The Tuskegee Experiment which was one of the most infamous acts by doctors and the United States Public Health Services instilled syphilis to groups of African American men in Macon, Alabama. The Tuskegee Experiment occurred from 1932-1972.

Over 200 men did not have the syphilis, while 198 African American men had the disease. The men did not receive an informed consent about the study, nor did the doctors disclosed to the test subjects what the study was pertaining to. The study was basically giving African Americans males syphilis in order to deduce what the disease would do to them in a long period of time. This is part of American history because it has caused the African Americans to mistrust the government and health care professionals.


The men had a right to be informed that they had syphilis and the government and the doctors had a responsibility to convey the nature of the experiment. Moreover, it is the law for doctors to treat patients to the best of their abilities, but the doctors did not treat the test subjects even after the cure for syphilis was discovered. The American government had a duty to protect the public. However, they did not perform their duty and as a result the men were deprived of their rights. The vicious element in this experiment was that the United States Public Health Service had the treatment for syphilis, however, they did not treat the patients even in the 1940s when the standard treatment for syphilis was penicillin. The research study continued for forty years.  It was clandestine because the test subjects were oblivious of their illnesses and the American government did not treat these patients after the experiment was concluded. At the completion of the research, only 74 test-subjects survived the experiment. The patients gave their wives syphilis and their children were born with congenital syphilis.  The doctors pragmatically used African American males as guinea pigs to gather research regarding the long-term effects of syphilis on their health.

Additionally, the experiment created an adjustment in our society because we now have laws and protocols when using humans as test subjects. This incident changed the laws in medical practices, which in eventually affected pharmacy practices. It created the Belmont Report Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research in 1979 which protected the rights of the individuals who are participating in any form of research. The government passed the National Research Act, which created a commission to write regulations governing human test subjects.

The Tuskegee Experiment is significant to the pharmacist as well as the history of America because patients’ trust in health care professionals shifted from doctors to pharmacist. African Americans qualm doctor and question the motives of doctors. This are reason why pharmacists have become the most trusted health professionals in the United States. Pharmacists do not benefit from patients when we give recommendations on over the counter medicines. We do this simply because we care for the health of our patients. We are the drug experts and we are very accessible; we are responsible in aiding African Americans to recoup our trust as health care professionals. The incident of the Tuskegee Experiment has developed laws to be more stringent and considerate with people’s lives when dealing with research protocols because it is ethically and morally unacceptable for the heinous act of experimentation to be executed on the human species.


  1. Manolakis, P. G., & Skelton, J. B. (2010). Pharmacists’ contributions to primary care in the United States collaborating to address unmet patient care needs: the emerging role for pharmacists to address the shortage of primary care providers. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(10), S7. Retrieved from
  2. The Legacy of Tuskegee – (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Tuskegee Study – Research Implications – CDC – NCHHSTP. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. Clinical Trials Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved from 






Emil Von Behring: “Savior of Children”

Contributed by Alan Lam, Class of 2019

The year is 1890 and tetanus continues to tighten its grip amidst the populace. Everyone was vulnerable to this disease and in particular children. With no cure, the disease reaped one out of ten victims.2 This disease was widely known as lockjaw for its modality of tightening the muscles. This process begins in the upper jaw and gradually advances to the rest of the body.3 Eventually, the contraction of muscles would fracture the very bones that support the body.4 The disease was a torment to the body and mind as it idled for weeks, causing the victims to suffer before leaving them paralyzed in pain or culminating in death.5

Another disease during this period known as diphtheria further preyed heavily upon children resulting in the death of half of those in contact with the disease.6 Complications from diphtheria led to blockage of the airway, damage to the heart muscle, and damage to nerve tissues resulting in paralysis and lung infections.7

Fortunately, 1890 was also the year in which tetanus and diphtheria would be rivaled with the promise of a vaccine.8 During this year, Emil Von Behring, would produce a working antitoxin to dismantle both tetanus and diphtheria. The modality in which the bacteria were able to cause disease was well known at the time. Tetanus and diphtheria are caused by bacteria Clostridium tetani and Corynebacterium diphtheria respectively.3 9 Both diseases relied on the ability of the bacteria to produce toxins in the body.10 This concept of toxins in the body became the focal point of Emil Von Behring’s research. During his experiments, Behring established that toxins are transferable between animals.11 This insight became the foundation for an antitoxin to tetanus and diphtheria. The technique of transferring blood serum of treated animals allowed Behring to design an antitoxin that would serve as a cure to both tetanus and diphtheria. Antitoxin treatments would ultimately evolve to become modern day vaccines. The diseases of tetanus and diphtheria is not just a relic of the past. These diseases still plague humanity today and thereupon antitoxins are still used today in the form of Tdap (tetanus diphtheria and pertussis) vaccines.

Emil von Behring’s work became the salvation from the death and suffering caused by the diseases of tetanus and diphtheria that plagued humanity for centuries. In recognition of Behring’s achievement in medicine, he was awarded the first “Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1901” for the discovery of antitoxins to treat tetanus and diphtheria.12 Furthermore, Behring has been revered as a “saviour of children”, considering diphtheria had claimed the lives of half the children who had the disease.13

The discovery of the antitoxin by Emil von Behring has historical significance, but also encompasses modern relevance. Behring has pioneered a novel approach to vaccines by adopting the use of antitoxins. These methods are still utilized today to produce vaccines that curtail tetanus and diphtheria. Behring has contributed remarkably to the pharmaceutical industry by adding two more vaccines to its repertoire. Furthermore, Behring’s antitoxin would grant pharmacists the ability to save lives in America by administering Tdap vaccinations in pharmacies to millions of Americans each year.


  1. Emil von Behring – Biographical.
  2. Kantha SS. A centennial review; the 1890 tetanus antitoxin paper of von Behring and Kitasato and the related developments. Keio J Med. 1991;40(1):35-39. Accessed September 24, 2016.
  3. Pinkbook | Tetanus | Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases | CDC.
  4. Tetanus | Kid-friendly Fact Sheet | Lockjaw | CDC.
  5. Tetanus Shot, Symptoms, and Treatment.
  6. Diphtheria | About | CDC.
  7. Diphtheria | Complications | CDC.
  8. Vaccine History: Developments by Year | The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
  9. Pinkbook | Diphtheria | Epidemiology of Vaccine Preventable Diseases | CDC.
  10. Committee I of M (US) VS, Stratton KR, Howe CJ, Richard B. Johnston J. Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids. 1994.
  11. Emil von Behring: The Founder of Serum Therapy.
  12. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1901.
  13. saviour of children – hiscistories.




Historical Perspectives: Sir Alexander Fleming

Contributed by Austin Schambach, Class of 2019

When you take a look back on the influences throughout the history of pharmacy, you can without a doubt identify Sir Alexander Fleming as one of the major players that contributed to development in the field.  He has written many papers that are published in medical journals due to their significance.  During Fleming’s early medical studies, he became particularly interested in natural bacteria.  He more so focused on the action it had in the blood and also the action in antiseptics.  Fleming’s critical contributions included the discovery of multiple substances, medical journal published papers, and the Nobel Prize he was awarded for his work.


Alexander Fleming is recognized for the discovery of many important substances, which positively altered the field.  While serving in hospitals during World War I in 1914, he stumbled upon the decision that antiseptics do more harm when used than they do to cure.  He stated that they mainly treat surface wounds but fail to treat anything deeper.  During his work, he examined tissues and secretions.  The examination of those aspects led to his discovery of a bacteriolytic enzyme that he later named a lysozyme.  At another point in his medical career, the experimenting with and observation of the influenza virus allowed him to make a few critical analyses.  Fleming noticed that a mold had developed on his staphylococcus culture.  The abnormal characteristic he saw on this mold was that it had circle around it, which he determined was bacteria free.   At that point he further worked with the culture and saw that it prevented the growth of staphylococci.  He stabilized and purified the specimen over and over but only confirmed his previous conclusion. He named this substance penicillin.  Based on his discoveries and other influential work, Sir Alexander Fleming produced many highly renowned writings.

Sir Alexander wrote several papers in a variety of fields like bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy.  Some of his papers even include the original findings of the lysozyme and penicillin. They have been published in medical and scientific journals.  The published papers allowed people to read and appreciate the work and approach of each crucial discovery that was made by Fleming throughout his decorated life’s work.  Not only was there an appreciation for his writings but he was also awarded a Nobel Prize for his field-altering discovery.

Fleming changed the field of medicine forever when he discovered penicillin in his experiments.  This Nobel Prize in Medicine was given to Fleming, Florey, and Chain in 1945.  He was accepted into every medical and scientific society as an honorary member because he was looked at as such an influential figure.  Alexander Fleming is more commonly known as Sir Alexander Fleming because in 1944 King George VI knighted him as Knight Bachelor.

In conclusion, Sir Alexander Fleming is considered one of the most influential figures throughout history in the field of not only medicine but also science as a whole.  Through various awards and a Nobel Prize, papers published in medical journals, and the discovery of many important substances, Fleming’s importance to the field does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.



“Alexander Fleming Biography.” A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 26  Sept. 2016.

“Alexander Fleming Biography.” The Famous People- Society for Recognition of Famous People. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

“Sir Alexander Fleming – Biographical.” Sir Alexander Fleming – Biographical. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.




Historical Perspectives: Dr. Katz & Development of a Measles Vaccine

Contributed by Trey Nealey, Class of 2018

Samuel Katz, born in 1927, is a pediatrician most notably remembered for his role in developing a vaccination for the measles virus. What is so interesting is that he initially was not even interested in the medical field. He began his freshman year as a music major before deciding to leave and join the Navy. It was within the same year that the Navy discovered his aptitude in the science profession, and offered to send him to a hospital training school. He eventually made his way into medical school at Harvard where he began working in a lab with who he describes were the brightest minds he had ever been lucky enough to encounter. In 1955, during his third year of residency at the Children’s Hospital in Boston Massachusetts, Samuel Katz witnessed a breakout of the polio epidemic in Boston, which prompted his curiosity in the field of virology and vaccine discovery. Ironically enough, in a lab a couple of block away was John Enders, Nobel Prize Winner, who had isolated three strains of the polio-virus and is now heralded as the father of modern vaccines.


Dr. Samuel Katz

Katz was a key contributor when it came to developing the vaccine for measles, using cell-culture techniques, where he even tested it on himself to ensure its’ safety. Although he was successful in a laboratory, his greatest achievement was on the global stage. Katz was passionate about infants and children, and about reducing the occurrence of measles worldwide. He traveled to African countries to again assess the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, even in infants suffering from malnutrition, infections, and malaria. With his efforts, he caught the attention of the World Health Organization in 1978 and began a campaign to include the measles vaccine in the Expanded Program on Immunization, which at the time only included vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and BCG. This is especially notable because at that time, the World Health Organization estimated that 6-8 million children died per year due to the measles virus.

Mr. Katz’ was passionate about decreasing the incidence of measles particularly in countries with high mortality rates due to the virus. He served on committees for various groups including WHO– and in 2003 the World Health Assembly passed an initiative to reduce measles related deaths worldwide by 50 percent by the year 2005. He now works as a professor at Duke University and is still actively involved with research. A famous quote of his is that “One death is a lot if the death is in your family”. This goes to show that he cared for all people and shared empathy with countries that were under resourced. These states reasons are why he deserves a place in the history books. Not simply because of his devotion to science and discovery, but rather his passion for service and creating a better world.


Woodward, B. (2015). Doctor Develops Measles Vaccine–Then Tests It On Himself to Prove it’s Safe. Retrieved September 26, 2016, from

NFID. (2015). PIONEERING WORK REVOLUTIONIZES CHILDREN’S HEALTH [Pamphlet]. 2015 Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement Award Recipient.

(2008). Dr. Samuel Katz — What is Measles? Retrieved September 26, 2016, from



Historical Perspective: Jonas Salk’s Polio Vaccine

Poliomyelitis (polio) is an extremely infectious disease. The disease was also known as infantile paralysis, merely because of the high infant mortality rate. Jonas Salk was born in New York City in 1914, the son of Jewish immigrants. Salk was considered a first generation college student, since his parents did not have a proper formal education. Jonas Salk’s parents influenced and encouraged him during his youth years to become more involved and successful in academics.

Jonas Salk attended grade school(s) in New York, then attended NYU School of Medicine after “city college” in New York. Years after, Salk researched medicine at the University of Michigan. During this time at University of Michigan, he studied viruses and ways to prevent them. Furthermore, during the 1940’s Salk became highly involved with investigating viral components and how to overcome a virus, like influenza, leading to polio. During this time his investigations were conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was leading the Virus Research Laboratory. Due to the high mortality rate from Polio, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (aka March of Dimes) was searching for doctors/researchers. Salk was becoming more highly recognized by the nation, later sponsored to research polio by the March of Dimes organization.

During 1947, Salk was researching in the Virus Research Lab at University of Pittsburgh when he came to conclusion that he would start with 125 strains of the Polio virus. Salk concluded that there were three basic types of the Poliomyelitis virus. He then figured that a vaccine against Polio must include all three types of the virus in order to effectively kill the Polio virus.  During the early 1950’s Salk believed that if he used the “Killed-Virus” strategy that he used for influenza would also work on his vaccine against polio. However, his strategy required large quantities of the polio virus in order for his testing to become more efficient. After collaboration with John Enders, Salk was given the opportunity to grow the virus via cultures of monkey kidney cells. Salk then used formaldehyde to kill the virus, then injected it into infected monkeys.

During the mid-1950’s Salk and his mentor Thomas Francis conducted field trials for the vaccines efficacy.  These field trials showed a 90% success rate. However, the route which Salk took proved efficacy but insufficiency in mass production. While Salk was developing his vaccine, Sabin was undergoing investigations of the polio virus with a live-virus vaccine. Sabin believed that the oral route would be more efficacious. Sabin then created the oral live-virus vaccine, which was licensed during 1962. Sabin’s live-virus vaccine then stole the show form Salk, and was the preferred vaccine against polio.

In conclusion, Salk was not honored the Nobel Prize for the research he had started. Sabin had won the Nobel Prize, although he depended on Salk. However, Salk founded an institute called the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In this institution he furthered his investigations on HIV/AIDS, the institution is still active today. Salk made a tremendous impact on the pharmaceutical/medical field in regards to vaccine developmental information that is still being used today for the future of our vaccines.

Work Cited

By That Time Salk Was Convinced That the Same. “Jonas Salk and Albert Bruce Sabin.” Chemical Heritage Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

“NMAH | Polio: Two Vaccines.” NMAH | Polio: Two Vaccines. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

 “Salk Produces Polio Vaccine 1952.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.