Jonas Salk

Salk, Jonas Edward

Jonas Edward Salk, 1914–95, American physician and microbiologist, b. New York City, B.S. College of the City of New York, 1934, M.D. New York Univ. College of Medicine, 1939. He did research on the influenza virus at the Univ. of Michigan, in 1946 became assistant professor of epidemiology there, and in 1947 went to the Univ. of Pittsburgh. In 1963 he became director of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at the Univ. of California in San Diego; he retired in 1975. He was renowned for his work leading the team that developed the first effective vaccine against poliomyelitis. The Salk vaccine is made by cultivating three strains of the virus separately in monkey tissue. The virus is separated from the tissue, stored for a week, and killed with formaldehyde; tests are then made to make certain that it is dead. A series of three or four injections with the killed-virus vaccine is required to confer immunity. The vaccine came into wide usage after successful trials carried out on more than a million schoolchildren in 1954.

See biography by C. D. Jacobs (2015).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Jonas Salk: Selected full-text books and articles

Jonas Salk: A Life By Charlotte Decroes Jacobs Oxford University Press, 2015
Genesis of the Salk Institute: The Epic of Its Founders By Suzanne Bourgeois University of California Press, 2013
Polio: An American Story By David M. Oshinsky Oxford University Press, 2005
Viruses, Plagues, and History By Michael B. A. Oldstone Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "Poliomyelitis"
Immunization: The Reality behind the Myth By Walene James Bergin & Garvey, 1995 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: "Polio" begins on p. 35
Historical Dictionary of the 1950s By James S. Olson Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: Discussion of Jonas Salk begins on p. 225 and "Salk Vaccine" begins on p. 257
Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts By Bruno Latour; Steve Woolgar; Jonas Salk Princeton University Press, 1986
Librarian's tip: "Introduction" by Jonas Salk
Polio By Daniel J. Wilson Greenwood, 2009
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