|The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research|
|Motto||Scientia pro bono humani generis (Latin)|
Motto in English
|Science for the benefit of humanity|
|President||Richard P. Lifton|
|Location||New York City (Upper East Side, Manhattan), United States
The Rockefeller University is a center for scientific research, primarily in the biological and medical sciences, providing doctoral and postdoctoral education. Rockefeller is one of the most prestigious institutes for biomedical research in the world, and it is the oldest such institute in the United States. Of a 96 person faculty (tenured and tenure-track, as of 2016), 38 are members of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 are members of the National Academy of Medicine, 8 are Lasker Award recipients, and 5 are Nobel Prize winners.
The Rockefeller University was founded in June 1901 as The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research—often called simply The Rockefeller Institute—by John D. Rockefeller, who had founded the University of Chicago in 1889, upon advice by his adviser Frederick T. Gates and action taken in March 1901 by his son, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Greatly elevating the prestige of American science and medicine, it was America's first biomedical institute, like France's Pasteur Institute (1888) and Germany's Robert Koch Institute (1891). The Rockefeller Foundation, a philanthropic organization, founded in 1913, is a separate entity, but had close connections mediated by prominent figures holding dual positions.
The first director of laboratories was Simon Flexner, who supervised the development of research capacity at the Institute, whose staff made major discoveries in basic research and medicine. While a student at Johns Hopkins University, Flexner had studied under the Institute's first scientific director, William H. Welch, first dean of Hopkins' medical school and known as the dean of American medicine. Flexner retired in 1935 and was succeeded by Herbert Gasser. He was succeeded in 1953 by Detlev Bronk, who broadened The Rockefeller Institute into a university that began awarding the PhD degree in 1954. In 1965 The Rockefeller Institute's name was changed to The Rockefeller University.
For its first six decades, the Institute focused on basic research to develop basic science, on applied research as biomedical engineering, and, since 1910—when The Rockefeller Hospital opened on its campus as America's first facility for clinical research—on clinical science. The Rockefeller Hospital's first director Rufus Cole retired in 1937 and was succeeded by Thomas Milton Rivers. As director of The Rockefeller Institute's virology laboratory, he established virology as an independent field apart from bacteriology.
Rockefeller has a remarkable history of research breakthroughs especially given the size of the institution. A snippet of the research breakthroughs include:
- First to culture the infectious agent associated with syphilis
- Showed that viruses can be oncogenic, and enabled the field tumor biology
- Development of tissue culture techniques
- Discovery of blood groups and application of group based blood donations.
- Discovery of the dendritic cell, the sentinel of the immune system
- Identification of a genetic defect associated with atherosclerosis, the leading cause of heart attacks in the U.S.
- Development of Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis
- Development of the practice of travel vaccination
- Pioneered the physiology and chemistry of vision
- Located genes regulating the sleep/wake cycle
- Identified the phenomenon of autoimmune disease
- Developed virology as an independent field
- Developed the first peptide antibiotic
- Obtained the first American isolation of influenzavirus A and first isolation of influenzavirus B
- Showed that genes are structurally composed of DNA, discovered blood groups, resolved that virus particles are protein crystals
- Resolved antibody structure, developed methadone treatment of heroin addiction, devised the AIDS drug cocktail, and identified the appetite-regulating hormone leptin
In the last decade alone, Rockefeller scientists have:
- uncovered the molecular basis of fragile X syndrome, the second leading cause of mental retardation;
- developed a powerful agent that can target and wipe out anthrax bacteria;
- produced an infectious form of the hepatitis C virus in laboratory cultures of human cells;
- showed that a normal strain of staph bacteria required only 90 days to mutate and gain antibiotic resistance;
- discovered a new link between depression and serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood, sleep and memory; and
- imaged for the first time the birth of HIV particles in a living cell.
Notable figures to emerge from the Institution include Alexis Carrel, Peyton Rous, Hideyo Noguchi, Thomas Milton Rivers, Richard Shope, Thomas Francis Jr, Oswald T. Avery, Wendell Meredith Stanley, René Dubos, Ashton Carter, and Cornelius P. Rhoads. Others attained eminence before being drawn to the university. Joshua Lederberg, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1958, served as president of the university from 1978 to 1990. Paul Nurse, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001, became President in 2003. (Before Nurse's tenure, Thomas Sakmar was acting-president from 2002.) In all, 24 Nobel Prize recipients have been associated with the University. In the mid-1970s, the University attracted a few prominent academicians in the humanities, such as Saul Kripke.
Urged by Rockefeller Jr, his only son, who was enthusiastic about the Institute, Rockefeller Sr visited but once. Rockefeller Jr's youngest son David would visit with his father. David Rockefeller joined the board of trustees in 1940, was its chairman from 1950 to 1975, chaired the board's executive committee from 1975 to 1995, became honorary chairman and life trustee, and remained active as a philanthropist.
At a glance
- biochemistry, structural biology, chemistry, and chemical biology
- molecular cell & developmental biology
- medical sciences & human genetics
- immunology, virology, microbiology
- physics & mathematical biology
University community statistics
- More than 70 heads of laboratories
- 200 research and clinical scientists
- 350 postdoctoral investigators
- 1,050 clinicians, technicians, administrative and support staff
- 175 Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. students
- 1,178 alumni
Nobel Prize winners
|Year||Nobel Laureate||Prize||Rockefeller Affiliation|
|2016||Yoshinori Ohsumi||Physiology or Medicine||Postdoctoral fellow before prize awarded|
|2011||Ralph Steinman||Physiology or Medicine||Faculty when prize awarded|
|2003||Roderick MacKinnon||Chemistry||Faculty when prize awarded|
|2001||Paul Nurse||Physiology or Medicine||President and faculty after prize awarded|
|2000||Paul Greengard||Physiology or Medicine||Faculty when prize awarded|
|1999||Günter Blobel||Physiology or Medicine||Faculty when prize awarded|
|1984||R. Bruce Merrifield||Chemistry||Faculty when prize awarded|
|1981||Torsten Wiesel||Physiology or Medicine||President and faculty after prize awarded|
|1975||David Baltimore||Physiology or Medicine||Alumnus; President after prize awarded|
|1974||Albert Claude||Physiology or Medicine||Faculty before prize awarded|
|1974||Christian de Duve||Physiology or Medicine||Faculty when prize awarded|
|1974||George E. Palade||Physiology or Medicine||Faculty before prize awarded|
|1972||Stanford Moore||Chemistry||Faculty when prize awarded|
|1972||William H. Stein||Chemistry||Faculty when prize awarded|
|1972||Gerald M. Edelman||Physiology or Medicine||Alumnus; Faculty when prize awarded|
|1967||H. Keffer Hartline||Physiology or Medicine||Faculty when prize awarded|
|1966||Peyton Rous||Physiology or Medicine||Emeritus faculty when prize awarded|
|1958||Joshua Lederberg||Physiology or Medicine||President and then faculty after prize awarded|
|1958||Edward L. Tatum||Physiology or Medicine||Faculty when prize awarded|
|1953||Fritz Lipmann||Physiology or Medicine||Rockefeller fellow before and faculty after prize awarded|
|1946||John H. Northrop||Chemistry||Member when prize awarded|
|1946||Wendell M. Stanley||Chemistry||Member when prize awarded|
|1944||Herbert S. Gasser||Physiology or Medicine||Director when prize awarded|
|1930||Karl Landsteiner||Physiology or Medicine||Member when prize awarded|
|1912||Alexis Carrel||Physiology or Medicine||Member when prize awarded|
Award affiliations taken from "The Rockefeller University » Nobel Laureates". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
- David Albert, physicist and philosopher
- David Baltimore, recipient of Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine in 1975 for the discovery of reverse transcriptase. Has served as president of both the Rockefeller University and the California Institute of Technology.
- Michael Bratman, Durfee Professor of philosophy at Stanford University.
- Gerald Edelman, recipient of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
- Barbara Ehrenreich, social commentator and author of the 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America.
- Jonathan Lear, the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago, who specializes in Aristotle and psychoanalysis.
- Seth Lloyd, physicist
- Harvey Lodish, professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Founding Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
- Manuel Elkin Patarroyo, Colombian pathologist who made the world's first attempt of synthetic vaccine for malaria. Recipient of Prince of Asturias Award in 1994.
- Robert Sapolsky, Stanford professor, MacArthur "Genius" Grant recipient, and writer of numerous books on stress and natural history.
- Amos Smith, Rhodes-Thompson professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania
- Richard Wolfenden, professor of chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Martin Yarmush, Paul and Mary Monroe Chair and Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University and Founding Director of the Center for Engineering in Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital
- As of 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY2014 to FY2015" (PDF). Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Chernow R. Titan: The Life of John D Rockefeller Sr (New York: Vintage Books, 2004), pp 471–2.
- Swingle AM. "The Rockefeller chronicle". Hopkins Medical News. Fall 2002.
- Hannaway C. Biomedicine in the Twentieth Century: Practices, Policies, and Politics (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2008), p 230, note 46.
- "Herbert S Gasser—biography". Nobelprize.org. September 6, 2011 (Web-access date).
- "The Rockefeller University Hospital". Rockefeller.edu. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
- "At Rockefeller Hospital". Time. May 24, 1937.
- Yoshida H (2009). "Seroimmunological studies by Dr Hideyo Noguchi: Introduction and illustration of his seroimmunological research, with a connection to recent seroimmunology". Rinsho Byori. 57 (12): 1200–8. PMID 20077823.
- Van Epps HL (2005). "Peyton Rous: Father of the tumor virus". J. Exp. Med. 201 (3): 320. doi:10.1084/jem.2013fta. PMC . PMID 15756727.
- Fischer A (1922). "Cultures of organized tissues". J. Exp. Med. 36 (4): 393–7. doi:10.1084/jem.36.4.393. PMC . PMID 19868681.
- Frierson JG (2010). "The yellow fever vaccine: A history"—section "First vaccine attempts". Yale J. Biol. Med. 83 (2): 77–85. PMC . PMID 20589188.
- Van Epps, H. L. (2005). "Thomas Rivers and the EAE model". J. Exp. Med. 202: 4. doi:10.1084/jem.2021fta.
- "Rivers, Thomas Milton (1888-1962)". American Decades. 2001. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
- Zimmerman BE, Zimmerman DJ. Killer Germs (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003), p 35.
- "Thomas Francis Jr". Encyclopædia Britannica. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
- McCarty, Maclyn (2003). "Discovering genes are made of DNA". Nature. 421 (6921): 406. doi:10.1038/nature01398. PMID 12540908.
- "Wendell Meredith Stanley". Encyclopædia Britannica. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
- "Jeffrey Friedman, discoverer of leptin, receives Gairdner, Passano awards". Medical News Today. April 14, 2005.
- "Joshua Lederberg—biography". Nobelprize.org. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
- "Paul Nurse to resign as Rockefeller president to become president of Royal Society of London in December". Newswire. The Rockefeller University. April 23, 2010.
- Nybo, Kristie (2010). "Profile of Thomas Sakmar". BioTechniques. 49: 779. doi:10.2144/000113534.
- Chernow, Titan, 2004, p 475.
- Arenson KW, "Turning 90, a Rockefeller gives the presents", New York Times, June 9, 2005.
- Rockefeller University, "David Rockefeller honored with named professorship: Barry Coller will be first David Rockefeller Professor", News & Notes, 2000 Dec 15;12(12).
- "Research areas". Rockefeller.edu. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
- "Quick Facts". Rockefeller.edu. June 27, 2013 (Web-access date).
- Hanson, Elizabeth. The Rockefeller University Achievements: A Century of Science for the Benefit of Humankind, 1901-2001 (New York: The Rockefeller University Press, 2000).