Stanley Plotkin

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Stanley Alan Plotkin
Photo Plotkin1.jpg
Born (1932-05-12) 12 May 1932 (age 90)
Alma materSUNY Downstate Medical Center
Known forVaccinology, immunology
SpouseSusan Plotkin

Stanley Alan Plotkin (born May 12, 1932[1]) is an American physician who works as a consultant to vaccine manufacturers, such as Sanofi Pasteur, as well as biotechnology firms, non-profits and governments. In the 1960s, he played a pivotal role in discovery of a vaccine against rubella virus while working at Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. Plotkin was a member of Wistar’s active research faculty from 1960 to 1991. Today, in addition to his emeritus appointment at Wistar, he is emeritus professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. His book, Vaccines,[2][3] is the standard reference on the subject.[4][5] He is an editor with Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, which is published by the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, D.C.

Early life and education[edit]

Plotkin was born and raised in New York City, the son of Jewish parents, Lee and Joseph Plotkin, who emigrated from England. He attended The Bronx High School of Science in New York City. While attending Bronx Science, at the age of 15, he read a pair of books that greatly influenced his future education and career choices: Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis and Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif. Deciding to dedicate his life to being a physician and research scientist, Plotkin graduated from Bronx Science in 1948. He then earned his bachelor's degree from New York University in 1952 and went on to earn his MD at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1956.[5][6] Plotkin received his GME from the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania in 1963.[7][8]


The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology[edit]

During his time at Wistar, Plotkin worked on several vaccines; chief among them are vaccines for rubella, rabies, rotavirus, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). He developed a vaccine for rubella, based upon the RA 27/3 strain of the virus (also developed by Plotkin using WI-38, a fetal-derived human cell line), which was released to the public in 1969.[9] The enabling technology was the WI-38 cell strain gifted to Plotkin by Leonard Hayflick also of the Wistar. WI-38 provide the key elements for the successful Rubella vaccine. The virus became attenuated when grown on WI-38; it was free of unwanted viruses and the vaccine proved to have minor side effects when compared with the HPV vaccine developed at the NIH. This WI-38 grown vaccine led to the eradication of the disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005.[10] Plotkin, working with Tadeusz Wiktor and Hilary Koprowski, produced a human vaccine for rabies during the 1960s and 1970s also on the WI-38 cell strain gifted to them by Leonard Hayflick. WI-38 provided to the rabies vaccine the same properties that it gave to the rubella vaccine. This rabies vaccine can be used as a preventive measure for people who have an increased risk of contracting rabies, as well as a treatment for those who have been exposed recently to the disease, preventing infection in nearly 100 percent of cases.[10] Another vaccine that Plotkin co-developed, working with H. Fred Clark and Paul Offit, is for rotavirus. In 2006, the team's vaccine became part of the U.S. recommended vaccine schedule for babies.[10] In the 1970s, Plotkin led the development of an experimental vaccine against CMV. This vaccine, developed using attenuated CMV, has yet to make it into commercial production.[10]

Dr. Plotkin has been a tireless advocate for the protection of humans, and children in particular, from preventable infectious diseases. His lifetime of work on vaccines has led to profound reductions in both morbidity and mortality not only in the United States, but throughout the world. His unbending adherence to the principle of being guided by outstanding science has led him to be admired by his peers. He demonstrates the combination of scholar, scientist and public servant exemplified by Dr. Maxwell Finland.

— Vijay B. Samant, President and CEO of Vical, Inc.[5]

Other positions held[edit]


Personal life[edit]

Plotkin and his wife, Susan, have two children, Michael and Alec. In 1957, Plotkin wanted to join the US Air Force so that he could learn to fly, but instead he went to work for the Epidemic Intelligence Service. He eventually realized his dream of learning to fly at the age of 74.[6]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Plotkin, Stanley; Orenstein, Walter; Offit, Paul (2012). Vaccines (sixth ed.). Saunders. ISBN 9781455700905.


  1. ^ "Brasil, Cartões de Imigração, 1961: Stanley Alan Plotkin". FamilySearch.
  2. ^ Plotkin, Stanley A; Orenstein, Walter A (2004). Vaccines. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders. ISBN 0721696880. OCLC 51811284.
  3. ^ Orenstein, [edited by] Stanley A. Plotkin, Walter A. (1999). "Smallpox and Vaccinia". Vaccines (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co. ISBN 0721674437. {{cite book}}: |first1= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ a b c "Dr. Stanley Plotkin talks CMV vaccine research". National CMV Foundation. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Christian H. Ross (13 Apr 2017). "Stanley Alan Plotkin (1932- )". The Embryo Project Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 Aug 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Stanley A. Plotkin, MD" (PDF). National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  7. ^ "PENN MED SPRING 2002" (PDF). University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. p. 29. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Distingished [sic] Graduate Award". Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  9. ^ Offit, Paul (2007), Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases, New York, New York: HarperCollins Inc, pp. 78–89, ISBN 978-0-06-122795-0
  10. ^ a b c d "History". Wistar. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  11. ^ Nemeh, Katherine H., ed. (2014). American Men & Women of Science: A Biographical Directory of Today's Leaders in Physical, Biological and Related Sciences (32nd ed.). p. 1434. ISBN 978-1414497181.
  12. ^ a b c d "Plotkin, MD". Agence de Médecine Préventive. Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 Aug 2017.
  13. ^ Florence Pat Haseltine (14 January 2014). "Prominent Virologist Stanley Plotkin Joins GVN as Senior Advisor". Global Virus Network. Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 Aug 2017.
  14. ^ "Scientific Advisory Board". Duke Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery. Archived from the original on 2015-08-03. Retrieved 14 Aug 2017.
  15. ^ "Stanley A. Plotkin". Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 Aug 2017.
  16. ^ "About". Mymetics. Archived from the original on 2016-11-14. Retrieved 14 Aug 2017.
  17. ^ Clive Cookson (18 January 2017). "Davos launch for coalition to prevent epidemics of emerging viruses". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 March 2020. Billion-dollar programme aims to cut vaccine-development time from 12 years to one
  18. ^ John Cohen (2 September 2016). "New vaccine coalition aims to ward off epidemics". Science. 353 (6303).
  19. ^ "James D. Bruce Memorial Award for Distinguished Contributions in Preventive: Full Lists of Recipients" (PDF). Awards, Masterships & Competitions. American College of Physicians. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 5 Aug 2017.
  20. ^ "Distinguished Physician". Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 5 Aug 2017.
  21. ^ "Past Award Recipients". Pan-American Society for Clinical Virology. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 5 Aug 2017.
  22. ^ "Dr. Plotkin receives French award for role in developing vaccines". AAP News & Journals Gateway. 1 Aug 1998. Archived from the original on 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 Aug 2017.
  23. ^ "The Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award". Sabin. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 5 Aug 2017.
  24. ^ "Wistar Emeritus Professor Stanley A. Plotkin, M.D., Elected to Institute of Medicine". Wistar. Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  25. ^ "How to Nominate for ASM Awards and Prize, Past Laureates, page 24". February 1, 2023.
  26. ^ "Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement". National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  27. ^ Ben Leach. "The Wistar Gala Honors Brian H. Dovey and Stanley A. Plotkin, M.D." Wistar. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  28. ^ "Dr. Stanley A. Plotkin to Receive the Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence in the Field of Vaccines". Wistar. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  29. ^ "Dr. Charles Mérieux Award for Achievement in Vaccinology and Immunology". National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. 29 August 1999. Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 14 Aug 2017.

External links[edit]