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The history of the Wistar Institute


The Wistar Institute
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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As a Master's Degree student at that point, I was sent over to the Wistar Institute, which is right on the University of Pennsylvania campus. It later turned out, of course, I spent most... a large part of my professional life there, so I'll say a word or two about it, because it's important in respect to how it impacted on my scientific career.

The Wistar Institute is the oldest biological research institute in the United States. It was built by a foresighted member of the Wistar family, a very wealthy, influential Philadelphia family, one of the members was a General during the Civil War, and there... one of them had enough foresight to build this institute, which is technically called the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology. My original contact with that institute, which also is to some extent influential on my career, was as a high school student.

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: University of Pennsylvania, The Wistar Institute

Duration: 1 minute, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012