Born On This Day ~ January 30 ~ Max Theiler


Born: January 30, 1899 (Pretona, South Africa)
Died: August 11, 1972 (New Haven, Connecticut)

Famous For/Known For:
South African-American doctor who developed the vaccine for yellow fever.

A Little About Max Theiler:
Born to Sir Arnold,a veterinary scientist and Emma (Jegge) Theiler.

His early education was in local schools, except one year in Basle, Switzerland. He attended Rohodes University College, Grahamstown and then on to the University of Cape Town Medical School.

In 1922 Theiler earned his medical degree after studying at St. Thomas’ Hospital and attending the London School of Tropical Medicine in England. Around this time he received a certificate of competence from the Royal College of Physicians and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

In 1922 Theiler headed to Boston, Massachusetts where he joined the Department of Tropical Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

In 1930 Theiler began working at the Rockefeller Foundation in the International Health Division. It was here that he and his colleagues developed a vacine, 17D, for yellow fever.

Theiler engaged himself in several medical research programs such as dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis. While researching poliomyelitis, a viral infection that affects the nervous system, he found an apparent identical disorder in laboratory mice, which is sometimes referred to as Theiler’s Disease.

In 1951, Theiler won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his analysis of yellow fever.

Theiler’s medical work was included in two books, Viral and Rickettsial Infections of Man (1948) and Yellow Fever (1951). He also wrote several papers that were published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology.

Over the years Theiler was presented with several awards such as the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, The Flatter Medal, and the Lasker Award from the Lasker Foundation.

Max Theiler died at the age of 73.



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