John Enders

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Live, reproduce, die
Icon bioDNA.svg
Life as we know it
Divide and multiply
Great Apes

John Franklin Enders (February 10, 1897–September 8, 1985) was an American immunologist, microbiologist, and biomedical researcher sometimes referred to as the father of modern[note 1][1] vaccines. Enders initially studied English literature after serving in the First World War before turning to a career in biomedical research. After completing his degree, Enders joined the bacteriology faculty at Harvard Medical School, he remained there for the rest of his career.[2]

Poliomyelitis and measles[edit]

In World War II he was a civilian consultant on infectious diseases to the U.S. War Department. From 1945 to 1949 Enders served the U.S. Army in a like capacity, with particular work on the mumps virus and rickettsial diseases. During this period Enders, with his coworkers Weller and Robbins, began research into new methods of producing in quantity the virus of poliomyelitis. Until that time the only effective method of growing the virus had been in the nerve tissue of living monkeys, and the vaccine thus produced had been proved dangerous to humans. The Enders–Weller–Robbins method of production, achieved in test tubes using cultures of nonnerve tissue from human embryos and monkeys, led to the development of the Salk vaccine for polio in 1954. Similarly, their production in the late 1950s of a vaccine against measles led to the development of a licensed vaccine in the United States in 1963. Much of Enders’ research on viruses was conducted at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, where he had established a laboratory in 1946.[3] For their work Enders, Thomas Weller, and Frederick Robbins received the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. Vaccines had been around since Edward Jenner, however, John Ender's contribution was to dramatically reduce the costs and time involved in studying and growing viruses.


  1. Katz SL (2009). "John F. Enders and measles virus vaccine—a reminiscence". Measles. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. 329. pp. 3–11.
  2. "John F. Enders, Ph.D." The American Association of Immunologists.
  3. "John Franklin Enders | American microbiologist". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  4. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1954". Retrieved 2020-01-07.