Keith R. Porter

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Keith Roberts Porter
Born(1912-06-11)June 11, 1912
DiedMay 2, 1997(1997-05-02) (aged 84)
NationalityCanadian, American
OccupationCell biologist

Keith Roberts Porter (June 11, 1912 – May 2, 1997) was a Canadian-American cell biologist. He performed pioneering biology research using electron microscopy of cells,[1] such as work on the 9 + 2 microtubule structure in the axoneme of cilia. Porter also contributed to the development of other experimental methods for cell culture and nuclear transplantation. He also was responsible for naming the endoplasmic reticulum.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Keith Porter was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on June 11, 1912, the son of Aaron and Josephine Roberts Porter.[3] He was an undergraduate at Acadia University and a graduate student at Harvard University. Starting in the late 1930s he did research at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. He became a citizen of the United States in 1947.


Porter helped found the American Society for Cell Biology and the Journal of Cell Biology. The Keith R. Porter Endowment for Cell Biology, founded in 1981, supports an annual Keith R. Porter Lecture at the conference of American Society for Cell Biology.[4]

Porter moved to Harvard University in 1961 and to the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1968. When he retired in 1982, at age 70, the university awarded him an honorary degree and renamed “his” building Porter Biosciences. He retired in 1982 and did post-retirement work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Pennsylvania. UMBC's Keith R. Porter Core Imaging Facility is dedicated to Porter.


In 1970, together with Albert Claude and George E. Palade, Porter was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University. Porter's colleagues Albert Claude, Christian de Duve and George E. Palade were awarded a Nobel Prize in 1974 "for describing the structure and function of organelles in biological cells", work that Porter is also well known for.[5]



  1. ^ Cooper, Geoffrey M. (2000). "Ch. 1: Section: Electron Microscopy". The Cell — A Molecular Approach (2nd ed.). Sunderland MA: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 978-0-87893-106-4.
  2. ^ Porter KR, Claude A, Fullam EF (1945). "A Study of Tissue Culture Cells by Electron Microscopy". J Exp Med. 81 (3): 233–246. doi:10.1084/jem.81.3.233. PMC 2135493. PMID 19871454.
  3. ^ Keith R. Porter, 84; Set Groundwork for Field of Cell Biology New York Times
  4. ^ Keith R. Porter Endowment for Cell Biology
  5. ^ Erica Westly (October 6, 2008). "No Nobel for You: Top 10 Nobel Snubs". Scientific American.

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