Emory Ellis

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Emory Ellis
Born (1906-10-29)October 29, 1906
Grayville, Illinois
Died October 26, 2003(2003-10-26) (aged 96)
Alma mater California Institute of Technology
Thesis  (1934)

Emory L Ellis (29 October 1906 - 26 October 2003) was a biochemist. He worked with Max Delbrück on the paper The Growth of Bacteriophage.


Ellis was born on the 29th October 1906 in Grayville, Illinois. He attended California Institute of Technology from 1925, attaining his PhD in 1934 in biochemistry. Apart from one year working for the Food and Drug Administration, Ellis remained at Caltech until World War II. Ellis' interests were in bacteriophage which he believed would contribute to understanding the role of viruses in cancer.[1] He started work on their role in animals, but found that there were extra problems and expense related to maintaining the animals and so switched to phage.[2] Ellis published the important paper The Growth of Bacteriophage with Max Delbrück in 1939.[3][4] He gave up work on phage after this paper and returned to cancer research before moving to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake from 1943, working with rocket-program employees as the onsite representative of Caltech.[1][5] Ellis became Executive Director of the Office of Industrial Associates in Caltech for two years between 1963 and 1965 and retired in 1969.[6] Ellis died on 26 October 2003.[7]

In a retrospective article, Ellis described his interactions with Delbruck.[8] The quantitative methods for studying bacteriophage that Delbruck initially learned from Ellis,[3] were further developed by a group of scientists informally known as the "phage group" (see phage group). Under the leadership of Delbruck this group played a central role in the early development of molecular biology.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Elizabeth Babcock (2008). Magnificent Mavericks: Transition of the Naval Ordnance Test Station from Rocket Station to Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Center, 1948-58. Government Printing Office. pp. 12–13. ISBN 0945274564. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Jim Endersby (2007). A Guinea Pig's History of Biology. Harvard University Press. p. 271. ISBN 0674027132. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Emory L. Ellis and Max Delbrück (1939). "The Growth of Bacteriophage" (PDF). The Journal of General Physiology. 22 (3): 365–384. doi:10.1085/jgp.22.3.365. PMC 2141994Freely accessible. PMID 19873108. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Anna Kuchment (2011). The Forgotten Cure: The Past and Future of Phage Therapy. Springer. p. 46. ISBN 1461402514. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Graeme K. Hunter (2000). Vital Forces: The Discovery of the Molecular Basis of Life. Academic Press. p. 226. ISBN 0123618118. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Guide to the Emory L. Ellis Papers, 1925-1993" (PDF). Online Archive of California. California Institute of Technology: 2–3. 1998. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Emory L. Ellis: Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Death Record". Genealogy Bank. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Ellis E.L. Bacteriophage: One-step growth curve: chapter in Phage and the Origins of Molecular Biology (1966) Edited by John Cairns, Gunther S. Stent, and James D. Watson, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory of Quantitative Biology, Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, New York ISBN 978-0879698003