Max Theiler


Max Theiler
(1899 - 1972)



South African-born American microbiologist who won the 1951 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his development of a vaccine against yellow fever.
Theiler received his medical training at St. Thomas' Hospital, London, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, graduating in 1922. In that year he joined the department of tropical medicine at the Harvard Medical School, Boston. Yellow fever had been controlled in some areas by attacking the mosquito populations that carried it, but Theiler sought to produce a vaccine against the virus that caused the disease. An early breakthrough in his research came when he discovered that mice were susceptible to the virus; this made it possible for him to collect a far larger amount of data on the disease than he could working with more expensive animals. From 1930 to 1964 Theiler conducted his research at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University), New York City, where with his associates he developed the improved (17-D) vaccine, which finally eliminated yellow fever as a major disease of humans.

 


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