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On our way to Philadelphia


Hilary Koprowski
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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Hilary was a virologist, he was a polio vaccine pioneer, he knew that cell culture by this time was important, and the field was by this time was becoming important in the lives of many people. So I happened to be very fortunate in entering the field almost at its inception, I should say its renaissance, because it technically began in 1900 with some significant events occurring between 1900 and 1958 which is when I arrived at the Wistar Institute, but I'll return to those significant events later, in a later context. Also Hilary was... knew many of the world's leading virologists, many geneticists, he also had a personality very much like Charlie Pomerat. He was an exceptionally good host. He was well spoken. He was a charming person. An excellent researcher, lots of foresight, that's on the plus side. On a minus side, he was known that if you crossed him in any way that offended him or went against his wishes, he could be a very serious foe. And that side of him was also known. But it should be said that he was a charming person, and I... I, on the whole, enjoyed him as a boss with some exceptions that are referred to later.

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: The Wistar Institute, Hilary Koprowski, Charles Pomerat

Duration: 2 minutes, 1 second

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012