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Moving supplies of WI-38 to Stanford University


Moving from the Wistar Institute to Stanford University
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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So now to learn that, to put it bluntly, all of my efforts, and they were serious efforts over, now in time more than a decade, had resulted in a product that would yield returns only to the full members of the institute and not to me, was to say the least, a bit bothersome, and it was at this point that I decided it's time to leave the Wistar Institute. I'm trying to recall the specific events that led to my acceptance of a full professorship at Stanford University, but in any case, there was ultimately a search committee established at Stanford, in California, by Stanford University Medical School, headed by Joshua Lederburg, the Nobel winner in the field of microbial genetics, and a search was made for a full professorship to be appointed in the department of medical microbiology at Stanford.

The result... Without going into all of the details, which are boring, the job was ultimately offered to me, and I was very enthusiastic about it, although I had other offers as well. I was offered the Chairmanship of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Vermont, and as I recall in one of my discussions with David Kritchevsky, with whom I was very close, the argument was made: would you rather be... would you rather manage Philadelphia Athletics, a baseball team that was always one of the worst, or play first base for the New York Yankees? So put in those terms, I decided that I'd rather play first base for the New York Yankees, and I ended up at Stanford.

Leonard Hayflick (b. 1928), the recipient of several research prizes and awards, including the 1991 Sandoz Prize for Gerontological Research, is known for his research in cell biology, virus vaccine development, and mycoplasmology. He also has studied the ageing process for more than thirty years. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells divide for a limited number of times in vitro (refuting the contention by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells are immortal), which is known as the Hayflick limit, as well as developing the first normal human diploid cell strains for studies on human ageing and for research use throughout the world. He also made the first oral polio vaccine produced in a continuously propogated cell strain - work which contributed to significant virus vaccine development.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Stanford University, The Wistar Institute, David Kritchevsky

Duration: 2 minutes, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012