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John F. Enders

John F. EndersAKA John Franklin Enders

Born: 10-Feb-1897
Birthplace: West Hartford, CT
Died: 8-Sep-1985
Location of death: Waterford, CT
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Remains: Buried, Fairview Cemetery, West Hartford, CT

Gender: Male
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Cultured the polio virus

Military service: US Navy Reserve (flying corps, 1917-19, WWI)

John Enders attended Yale, dropping out to join the military for World War I, then returned, earning his Bachelors degree and embarking on a career in real estate. This soon bored him, and he returned to university, this time at Harvard, where he studied literature and planned a new career teaching the classics. He had another change of heart after befriending several medical students, and switched his major to bacteriology and immunology. After graduation, he remained at Harvard as a teacher and researcher for another decade and a half, until he was offered a laboratory of his own at Children's Hospital in Boston.

At the hospital Enders focused his attention on viral diseases, and developed a method for detecting antibodies to the mumps virus, a breakthrough which led to a skin test that could diagnose the disease. Enders, working with Thomas H. Weller and Frederick C. Robbins, became the first to grow the poliomyelitis viruses -- polio -- in tissue cultures, an accomplishment that allowed Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin to develop vaccines against this crippling disease. For their work, Enders, Robbins, and Weller shared the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In 1963, Enders developed the first vaccine against measles.

Enders' father was chairman of the Hartford National Bank and Trust Co. His grandfather, Thomas Enders, was hired in 1854 as the first full-time employee of Aetna Insurance, and 18 years later he was promoted to become Aetna's President.

Father: John Ostrom Enders (banker, b. 3-Dec-1869)
Mother: Harriet Goulden Whitmore Enders (m. 1895)
Sister: Harriet Burnham Enders
Brother: Ostrom Enders (ornithologist, b. 21-Sep-1902, d. 1994)
Wife: Sarah Frances Bennett (m. 1927, d. 1943 heart disease)
Son: John Ostrom Enders II (d. 1982)
Daughter: Sarah Enders Steffian
Wife: Carolyn B. Keane (m. 1951)
Son: William Edmund Keane (stepson, not the cartoonist)

    High School: St. Paul's School, Concord, NH (1915)
    University: BA English Literature, Yale University (1920)
    University: MS English Literature, Harvard University (1922)
    University: PhD Microbiology, Harvard University (1930)
    Teacher: Bacteriology and Immunology, Harvard University (1930-56)
    Professor: Bacteriology and Immunology, Harvard University (1956-67)
    Professor: Harvard University (1962-67)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1954, with Thomas H. Weller and Frederick C. Robbins
    Lasker Award 1961
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 1963
    Scroll and Key
    British Medical Association

Author of books:
Studies on Attenuated Measles-Virus Vaccine (1960)
Recent Results in Cancer Research (1966)

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