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Thomas Huckle Weller
Born June 15, 1915(1915-06-15)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Died August 23, 2008 (aged 93)
Needham, Massachusetts
Nationality United States
Fields virology
Alma mater University of Michigan
Known for poliomyelitis viruses
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954

Thomas Huckle Weller (June 15, 1915 – August 23, 2008) was an American virologist. He, John Franklin Enders and Frederick Chapman Robbins were awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954 for showing how to cultivate poliomyelitis viruses in a test tube, using tissue from a monkey.[1]

Weller was born and grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then went to the University of Michigan, where his father Carl Vernon Weller was a professor in the Department of Pathology. At Michigan, he studied medical zoology received a B.S. and an M.S., with his masters thesis on fish parasites. In 1936, Weller entered Harvard Medical School, and in 1939 began working under John Franklin Enders, with whom he would later (along with Frederick Chapman Robbins) share the Nobel Prize. It was Enders who got Weller involved in researching viruses and tissue-culture techniques for determining infectious disease causes. Weller received his MD in 1940, and went to work at Children's Hospital in Boston. In 1942, in the middle of World War II, he entered the Army Medical Corps and was stationed at the Antilles Medical Laboratory in Puerto Rico, earning the rank of Major and heading up the facility's Departments of Bacteriology, Virology and Parasitology. After the war, he returned to Children's Hospital in Boston, and it was there in 1947, he rejoined J.F. Enders in the newly created Research Division of Infectious Diseases. After several leading positions, he was appointed in 1954 the In July 1954, he was appointed Tropical Public Health Department Head the Harvard School of Public Health. Weller also served, from 1953-1959, as Director of the Commission on Parasitic Diseases of the American Armed Forces Epidemiological Board.

In addition to his research on polio, for which he won the Nobel Prize, Weller has also contributed to treating schistosomiasis, and Coxsackie viruses. He was also the first to isolate the virus responsible for varicella.

In 1945, Weller married Kathleen Fahey. They had two sons and two daughters together.


  • Zetterström, Rolf; Lagercrantz, Hugo (2006), "J.F. Enders (1897-1985), T.H. Weller (1915-) and F.C. Robbins (1916-2003): a simplified method for the multiplication of poliomyelitis virus. Dreams of eradicating a terrifying disease.", Acta Paediatr. 95 (9): 1026–8, 2006 Sep, doi:10.1080/08035250600900073, PMID 16938745 
  • Ligon, B Lee (2002), "Thomas Huckle Weller MD: Nobel Laureate and research pioneer in poliomyelitis, varicella-zoster virus, cytomegalovirus, rubella, and other infectious diseases.", Seminars in pediatric infectious diseases 13 (1): 55–63, 2002 Jan, doi:10.1053/spid.2002.31314, PMID 12118846 
  • Kyle, R A; Shampo, M A (1997), "Thomas Huckle Weller and the successful culture of poliovirus.", Mayo Clin. Proc. 72 (5): 422, 1997 May, PMID 9146683 
  • Bendiner, E (1982), "Enders, Weller, and Robbins: the trio that 'fished in troubled waters'.", Hosp. Pract. (Off. Ed.) 17 (1): 163, 169, 174–5 passim, 1982 Jan, PMID 6295913 
  • Sulek, K (1968), "[Nobel prizes for John F. Enders, Frederick Ch, Robbins and Thomas H. Weller in 1954 for discovery of the possibility of growing poliomyelitis virus on various tissue media]", Wiad. Lek. 21 (24): 2301–3, 1968 Dec 15, PMID 4303387 


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