Alick Isaacs

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Alick Isaacs
Born (1921-07-17)17 July 1921
Died 26 January 1967(1967-01-26) (aged 45)
Fields Virology
Institutions National Institute for Medical Research
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society[1]

Alick Isaacs FRS[1] (17 July 1921 – 26 January 1967) was a British virologist. Isaacs and Jean Lindenmann, a Swiss virologist, are best remembered as the co-discoverers of interferon in 1957.[2] He served as the Head of the Laboratory for Research on Interferon, National Institute for Medical Research, 1964–7.[3] Joyce Taylor-Papadimitriou worked as an early career researcher in his laboratory.[4] A collection of his laboratory notes is held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.[5]


Isaacs was born to Jewish parents in Glasgow.[6] He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Glasgow in 1954[citation needed] and was awarded honours and the Bellahouston Gold Medal for his research on the influenza virus.[1]

Awards and honours[edit]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1966,[1] shortly before his death.


  1. ^ a b c d Andrewes, C. H. (1967). "Alick Isaacs 1921-1967". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 13: 204–226. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1967.0010. 
  2. ^ Kolata, Gina (2015-01-22). "Jean Lindenmann, Who Made Interferon His Life’s Work, Is Dead at 90". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  3. ^ D Burke (14 February 2009). "The Discovery of Interferon, the First Cytokine, by Alick Isaacs and Jean Lindenmann in 1957". 
  4. ^ Alick Isaacs, Hutchinson Encyclopedia
  5. ^ "Alick Isaacs Laboratory Notebooks 1938-1965". National Library of Medicine. 
  6. ^ Bruce, Duncan A. The mark of the Scots: their astonishing contributions to history, science, democracy, literature, and the arts, p. 214. Citadel Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8065-2060-4. Accessed 31 August 2011. "In 1957 Alick Isaacs, born in Glasgow to Jewish parents, discovered and named interferon, an entirely new defense mechanism against viruses."