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Hilary Koprowski


Hilary Koprowski appointed Director of the Wistar Institute
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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So it was now necessary for me to move on, look for another job, and I sent letters to former professors and friends in Philadelphia and others. One of the letters fortunately was sent to a former teacher of mine who I really well respected, liked very much, his name was Warner Henley. Warner was a world renowned virologist as was his wife. They worked at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. And it was at this time that the Wistar Institute underwent a major change. It was decided by a committee I believe composed from some people from Pen and others, that they should look for a permanent director of the entire institute and set a policy for research activities there that would somehow be more structured than what had existed heretofore.

They hired Hilary Koprowski, an internationally known and respected virologist, who was a Polish ex-patriot. And Hilary came to the Wistar Institute, not from Poland, because he had migrated from Poland to South America where... and then from South America to New York State where he worked for a major pharmaceutical company, and it was at that company that he left in order to become director of the Wistar Institute. And this, of course, was all well known to Warner Henley who suggested to Hilary Kaprowski that because Hilary was interested in establishing a cell culture unit at the Wistar Institute that he might get in touch with me.

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: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Wistar Institute, Werner Hendle, Hilary Koprowski

Duration: 2 minutes, 7 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012