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Moving to the University of Texas, Galveston


My first contact with virology
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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The second facility had an even greater impact on me. It was, for reasons unknown to me, a gentleman from a major pharmaceutical company established a laboratory on one of the remaining floors of the Wistar Institute, and I think it was also on the floor occupied by Farris but on the opposite end of the building, so they were quite distant, and that fellow was a virologist. This was my first contact with people in virology. It also attracted two or three of my friends at the University of Pennsylvania who became graduate students in that facility. And because they were so close to me physically, and also as friends, I visited them frequently, and I learned... and what they had also there was a cell culture facility, and they were culturing cells in fermentation tanks, the first time I had ever seen this done, and I believe they were pretty much the first people to grow cells in fermentation tanks, which was a very fascinating thing to see – to grow human and animal cells in large tanks, and then to retrieve the cells and do various studies with them, with the viruses, was... was again a very exciting experience. So my interests were continuing to develop in those directions as well. There were other events that occurred in respect of, kind of, cell culture works that they were doing that also had some influence on my thinking.

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: Wistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Edmund Farris

Duration: 1 minute, 52 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012