Category: New Acquisitions and Collection Updates

Processing of the Harvard Prevention Research Center Records

By , March 29, 2017
Fitness Folder, from the Harvard Prevention Research Center's Planet Health Curriculum.

Fitness Folder, from the Harvard Prevention Research Center’s Planet Health Curriculum. P-DT08.01, Series 00598. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center is pleased to announce that the records of the Harvard Prevention Research Center (HPRC), 1992-2003, are currently being processed as part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project. The Harvard Prevention Research Center at the Harvard School of Public Health (as of 2014, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), was founded in 1998. The Center works with local, community, and government organizations to research, develop, implement, and refine school- and community-based youth intervention programs to encourage better health habits among youth. Programs particularly focus on improving nutrition and exercise habits, in order to lower the risk of obesity and chronic disease in children and youth. As of 2016, the Center is nested under the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Steven L. Gortmaker (born 1949) serves as Principal Investigator and Director, and Angie Cradock is the Deputy Director.

The collection is a product of two research projects and educational interventions developed and implemented by the Harvard Prevention Research Center under the direction of Steven Gortmaker: Planet Health (1995-), funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a university gift; and the Play Across Boston project (1999-2001), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Planet Health is a middle-school-based wellness curriculum developed for use by teachers and physical education instructors to teach healthy decision-making regarding nutrition, exercise, and leisure activities, while also supporting learning in traditional subject areas. Planet Health records, dated 1992-1997, were developed during the randomized control trial conducted to produce the curriculum, and include: student activity and diet worksheets; teacher and student focus group transcripts and recordings; wellness workshop records; student-made activity graphs; analyzed data; and research administrative records. Play Across Boston was a collaborative initiative with Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, to survey and evaluate the availability of after-school fitness activity programs for Boston-area youth, and to determine how both access to these resources and individual family characteristics influence youth physical activity. The project surveyed youth participation in 237 programs in the greater Boston area. Play Across Boston records are dated 2000-2003, and consist of: student surveys regarding participation in organized physical activity outside of school hours; and fitness program provider surveys concerning details of program offerings and student participation during the school year and summer vacation months.

The collection is expected to be open to research in 2017. Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). For more information on the project, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Deputy Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

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Processing of the Steven L. Gortmaker Papers

By , March 3, 2017
Steven L. Gortmaker.

Steven L. Gortmaker, M-AD06. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Steven Lawrence Gortmaker (born 1949), is Professor of the Practice of Health Sociology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, and Director and Principal Investigator of the school’s Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity. His research has primarily focused on the health and mortality risks affecting children and adolescents, especially among low-income and minority groups, and interventions aimed at mitigating those risks. Toward these ends, he served as Principal Investigator for numerous research initiatives at the Harvard Prevention Research Center, including: Planet Health (1995-2007); the Out of School Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative (OSNAP) (2009-2015); and Play Across Boston (1999-2009). He was also Co-Director of the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES), and Senior Advisor to the Healthy Eating Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He was the 1997 recipient of the 1997 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. The Center is pleased to announce that Gortmaker’s papers, dated 1959-1997, are currently being processed.

The records are the product of Gortmaker’s personal and professional activities during his service at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (previously Harvard School of Public Health), and include: research and administrative records for the Rural Infant Care Program and Child Health Studies (1975-1996), the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1963-1985), and the Partnership for Organ Donation (1992-1997); administrative records for the Harvard School of Public Health departments of Behavioral Sciences and Health and Social Behavior; teaching records for courses in the Department of Health and Social Behavior related to statistics, sexuality, and HIV/AIDS; and collected publications. The records are expected to be open to research in 2017.

The records of the Harvard Prevention Research Center are also currently being processed at the Center.

Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). For more information on the project, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Deputy Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

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Processing of the Marie C. McCormick Papers

By , December 19, 2016
Marie C. McCormick.

Marie C. McCormick, 2000, M-AD06. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center is pleased to report that the Marie C. McCormick papers, 1970-2010, the products of McCormick’s professional, research, and publishing activities, are currently being processed as a part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project.  McCormick is the Sumner and Esther Feldberg Professor of Maternal and Child Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Associate for Academic Affairs in the Department of Neonatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Her research has focused primarily on epidemiology and health services, particularly in relation to infant mortality and the outcomes of very low birth weight and otherwise high-risk neonates.  Toward these ends, she has served as a senior investigator on both the federal Healthy Start Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Perinatal Regionalization Program.  She was also the Principal Investigator of Phase IV of the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), the largest longitudinal multi-site randomized trials of early childhood educational intervention for low birth weight infants.  Between 2000 and 2004, she served as Chair of the Institute of Medicine’s Immunization Safety Review Committee, for which she testified twice before the United States House of Representatives on the lack of evidence linking vaccines with autism. In 1996, she also testified before the United States Senate on the National Healthy Start Initiative.  She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including: the 2004 David Rall Medal of the National Academy of Medicine, for Exceptional Service; the 2006 Douglas K. Richardson Award of the American Pediatric Society, for Perinatal and Pediatric Healthcare Research; and the 2008 Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award of the Massachusetts Medical Society, for Excellence in Public Health.

The papers, created through McCormick’s professional, research, and publishing activities, include research administrative records of Phases I-IV of the Infant Health and Development Program, research administrative records and data of several high risk pregnancy and very low birth weight studies, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health teaching and administrative records, writings and publications, and collected publications. They are expected to be open to research in 2017.

Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). For more information on the project, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Deputy Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

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Recent Additions to the Warren Anatomical Museum

By , November 17, 2016

2016 has been a dynamic year for building the holdings of the Warren Anatomical Museum collection. New acquisitions came in representing the legacy and contributions of multiple Harvard health science institutions, including 20th-century narratives that were not well documented by the museum’s current collections. Multiple spirometers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health were added to the collection. A Garceau Junior electroencephalograph, a device with technical origins at Harvard Medical School, was given to the Warren. The museum acquired a set of medical instruments formerly belonging to HMS graduate Ralph Clinton Larrabee, whose personal papers are in the Center for the History of Medicine and the Harvard University Archives. Two sampling pumps from the Six Cities Study were given to the museum. Among these wonderful additions, three new accessions to the Warren Anatomical Museum are further detailed below.

Wilgus Daguerreotype of Phineas Gage, 1850-1860. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Wilgus Daguerreotype of Phineas Gage, 1850-1860. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The skull, life cast and tamping iron of Phineas Gage are the items most associated with the current and historical Warren Anatomical Museum. Many of the visitors to the Warren Museum Exhibition Gallery in the Countway Library come to visit Phineas and the majority of the educational programs conducted in the Gallery revolve around the ever-evolving Gage narrative. Thanks to the generosity of Jack and Beverly Wilgus, the sixth plate cased daguerreotype of Phineas Gage (the Wilgus daguerreotype) has been added to the museum for the future benefit of scholars and public. The Wilguses identified the image as Phineas Gage in 2009 and their discovery led to articles in the Smithsonian Magazine and The Boston Globe. The Wilguses maintain a website on their journey with the Gage daguerreotype called “Finding Phineas.” Their kind gift has helped humanize the much-studied Gage as prior illustrations focused on his skull and life cast.

The museum was also lucky enough to purchase a Sanborn Company Viso-Cardiette that was given to Nobel Laureate Albert Schweitzer by Harvard cardiologist Paul Dudley White and used in cardiac research at Schweitzer’s hospital in

Sanborn Company Viso-Cardiette, 1960. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Sanborn Company Viso-Cardiette, 1960. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Gabon in 1960. The device was utilized in a scientific study by David Miller and Steven Spencer entitled “Survey of cardiovascular disease among Africans in the vicinity of the Albert Schweitzer hospital in 1960,” published in The American Journal of Cardiology in 1962. It struggled to perform in the climate around the hospital and had to be modified repeatedly, much of which is detailed in the Paul Dudley White papers at the Center for the History of Medicine. The research and Viso-Cardiette are also discussed in Oglesby Paul’s biography of White, Take Heart. The Life and Prescription for Living of Paul Dudley White.  As an artifact, the Viso-Cardiette touches on multiple historical narratives such as scientific interventions from the West into Africa and the collaborations between high-profile physicians and hospitals.

Pressure gauge from hyperbaric chamber, 1928. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Pressure gauge from hyperbaric chamber, 1928. Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The museum was also excited to receive one of the few known items to survive from the Harvard School of Public Health’s scientific hyperbaric chamber from the School’s tenure at 55 Shattuck Street in Boston. The Warren was generously given a pressure gauge that was preserved by several scientists after the chamber was decommissioned and dismantled from what is now part of Boston Children’s Hospital. The 31-foot long chamber was designed and installed by the School’s Department of Physiology and Industrial Hygiene in 1928 in order to study the physiological effects of various pressures. Its design specifics are discussed in a 1932 paper in the Journal of Industrial Hygiene entitled “A pressure chamber for studying the physiological effects of pressures varying from six to sixty pounds per square inch absolute.” When Children’s Hospital leased the site from the School of Public Health, they adapted the chamber for therapeutic use, eventually leading to the 1965 installation of a new hyperbaric chamber at the site specifically designed for the hospital’s clinical needs. The gauge serves as an excellent tangible reminder of this work at both institutions and speaks to a trajectory of experimental legacy informing clinical practice.

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New Acquisition: The Fredrick J. Stare Papers

By , November 8, 2016
Stare

Dr. Frederick John Stare participating in a nationwide “March of Medicine” telecast on March 11, 1953. The half-hour show, one of a series being sponsored by a drug company and the American Medical Association, stressed problems of obesity and suggestions for dieting. Courtesy of the Center for the History of Medicine (Harvard School of Public Health Dean’s Annual Report, 1953-1954).

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the acquisition of the personal and professional papers of the late Fredrick J. Stare (1910-2002). Dr. Stare was an American nutritionist regarded as one of the country’s most influential teachers of nutrition. In 1942, Stare founded the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, now the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This was the first such nutrition program in the United States not to be associated with an agriculture school. Dr. Stare began with a staff of three, but by the time he retired in 1976 it exceeded 150 people, and the department was considered a leader in nutrition research. In 1978, Stare co-founded and served as chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Council on Science and Health, which he served on until his death in 2002.

Stare fought to improve nutrition for children in developing nations and supported the process of fluoridating public drinking water to prevent tooth decay. He defended food preservatives and chemical additives as beneficial and necessary at a time when naturalists countered that additives were detrimental. He was a firm believer in the essential goodness of the typical American diet, holding that “prudence and moderation” were the key to healthy eating. He was also an early advocate of the benefits of regularly drinking water throughout the day. He founded the journal Nutrition Reviews, and from 1945 onward wrote a syndicated newspaper column, Food and Your Health. His publications included Living Nutrition; Eat OK – Feel OK; Food for Today’s Teens; The Executive Diet; Food for Fitness after Fifty; Dear Dr Stare: What Shall I Eat?; and Panic in the Pantry.

At the height of McCarthyism, Stare won notoriety for hiring Bernard Lown, a cardiologist who had been accused of holding communist sympathies. Lown went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 as one of the leaders of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical groups in 64 countries who share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation. In addition to Dr. Stare’s records, the papers of Bernard Lown as well as the records of the IPPNW are available for research at the Center for the History of Medicine.

For more about Dr. Stare, please read this memorial written by the Harvard Crimson immediately following Dr. Stare’s death in 2002, or his obituaries in the New York Times and the Economist.

His collection, which is not yet available for research, includes correspondence, alpha files, university administrative records, grey literature and publications, photographs, and films. For more information about the collection, contact Public Services at chm@hms.harvard.edu.

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New Manuscript Acquisition Highlights

By , October 27, 2016

Recent additions to our manuscript holdings span topics from mucosal immunology to gun violence as a public health hazard, and represent only a portion of new materials acquired so far in 2016. Three of the collections highlighted here are accompanied by objects simultaneously acquired by the Curator of the Warren Anatomical Museum. To learn more about individual collections, or to request access, click through to view the full library catalog record.

  • Marian R. Neutra papers, 1975-2016 (bulk). Marian R. Neutra, Ph.D. is the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Boston Children’s Hospital. Neutra taught Histology and Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School (HMS) from 1974 to 2004. She was founding associate director of the Harvard Digestive Diseases Center (HDDC) from 1984 to 1998, and director of HDDC from 1998 to 2005. At HMS, Neutra served as the first Master of the Castle Society and chaired the curriculum committee from 1992 to 1998. She also held positions on scientific advisory committees for organizations including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) AIDS Research Advisory Committee, and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Neutra was the second woman to be promoted to Full Professor at Boston Children’s Hospital. The collection consists of records reflecting Neutra’s laboratory research, teaching, and professional activities related to epithelial cell biology and mucosal immunology, including many original drawings and photographic prints and negatives taken utilizing electron microscopy.
  • Mark L. Rosenberg papers, 1970s-2016 (bulk). Mark Rosenberg, M.D., M.P.P. was president and CEO of the Task Force for Global Health from 1999 until his retirement in April 2016. Prior to his work at the Task Force, Rosenberg worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as the first director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC). As director of NCIPC, he oversaw gun violence research until the 1996 enactment of the Dickey Amendment by the United States Congress prohibited the continued use of federal funds to promote gun control. The collection consists of records related to Rosenberg’s research on gun violence as a public health hazard; records reflecting initiatives undertaken by the Task Force and partnering global health organizations; and original photographic images (prints and negatives) and audio interviews conducted by Rosenberg for his 1980 publication Patients: the Experience of Illness.
  • Paul Goldhaber papers, 1950-2004 (bulk). Paul Goldhaber, D.D.S. was Dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine from 1968 to 1990 when he retired as Dean Emeritus. Goldhaber’s research in bone biology and bone growth laid the groundwork for later advancements in dental implants. A new accrual to the Paul Goldhaber papers was transferred to the Center for the History of Medicine from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine over the summer. This addition relates almost entirely to Goldhaber’s laboratory research and consists mainly of lab notebooks maintained by Goldhaber chronologically from the late 1950s to the 1990s. A sample of pathological specimens related to the experiments recorded in the notebooks were acquired by the Warren Anatomical Museum.
  • Nancy E. Oriol papers, 1989-2001 (bulk). Nancy E. Oriol, M.D. recently stepped down as Dean for Students at Harvard Medical School, a position she held from 1998 to 2016. Oriol was founding director of The Family Van, and is an obstetric anesthesiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she pioneered  the Walking Epidural and developed a prototype for the Neo-Vac meconium suction catheter. The collection consists of project records related to the founding of The Family Van and the development of the Walking Epidural and the Neo-Vac in the 1980s, as well as records related to course development and curriculum building at Harvard Medical School from the 1990s to 2016. A prototype and early market product for the Neo-Vac were acquired by the Warren Anatomical Museum.
  • Sven Paulin papers, 1955-2014 (inclusive). Sven Paulin, M.D. was Radiologist-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital (now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) from 1970 to 1994 and the first Miriam H. Stoneman Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School from 1983 to 1993 (Emeritus, 1994 to 2014). Paulin contributed to the development of cardiothoracic imaging technologies in the second half of the twentieth century, particularly through his development of techniques for performing coronary angiography, which he laid out in his 1964 doctoral thesis, “Coronary angiography: a technical, anatomic and clinical study.” The Sven Paulin collection was established in 2014, with 5 cubic feet of additional correspondence, photographs, and writings acquired in 2016. The collection includes Paulin’s personal and professional correspondence; films, slides, and x-rays used in teaching; writings and lectures; grants files; annotated reprints; and photographs. Several objects were acquired by the Warren Anatomical Museum, including catheter molds used by Paulin and pictured in his 1964 thesis publication.

New acquisitions are cataloged in Hollis+ (the Harvard Library catalog) to enable discovery, but until collections are fully processed they may only be accessed by researchers via consultation with Public Services.

Collections are processed by Center staff when resources become available. Visit our website to learn how you can support processing of Center collections.

In addition to individual contributions, collection processing is supported by grant-funded initiatives. To learn about current and past funded projects at the Center for the History of Medicine, see blog posts related to: Access to Activism; Bridging the Research Data DivideFoundations of Public Health Policy; and Maximizing Microbiology.

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Capturing the History of Sustainability at the Harvard Chan School

By , August 15, 2016

President of the Clinton Foundation and 2016 Harvard Chan Commencement speaker Donna Shalala poses with EcoOpportunity members David Havelick (left) and Adam Meier (right). The 2016 Commencement ceremony aimed for “zero waste” with the support of EcoOpportunity volunteers.

Archiving the history of grassroots initiatives, whether at Harvard or elsewhere, is often problematic. Often records are scattered, in addition to the early leadership itself, by the time a group is recognized for its contributions. As a result, records representing the work of grassroots initiatives are generally under-represented in archival collections. The history of grassroots work surrounding sustainability at Harvard is often of great interest to researchers, making it an important acquisition target. Sustainability can be defined as identifying and prioritizing resource conservation opportunities, and reducing environmental and health impacts.

In February 2016, Heather Mumford, Archivist for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, began to explore archiving the history of sustainability initiatives at the Harvard Chan School. Specifically, Heather targeted EcoOpportunity, a Harvard Chan School group which evolved from humble beginnings to eventually form a successful Longwood-wide sustainability team.

Heather proactively reached out to current volunteers and leadership. Working together, they compiled a number of records (including email, early documentation, and photographs) and authored a history of the organization. When gaps were identified, current volunteers reached out to former volunteers and asked for assistance. The result is a collection of records that offer a comprehensive history, insuring that the contributions of these early sustainability efforts at Harvard will not be lost to time.

September 2014 2

EcoOpportunity volunteers in 2014.

 

History of EcoOpportunity

EcoOpportunity is indeed a unique group at Harvard. It was formed in 2008 as part of a larger initiative from the President’s Office, after an email was sent encouraging departmental administrators across Harvard to create “Green Teams” at their schools. This was known as the “Green Campus Initiative”, and has since become the Harvard Office for Sustainability, which is part of Campus Services. Early meetings of these school “Green Teams” included brainstorming sessions on sustainability topics, speakers, and events.

After their first few meetings, the Harvard Chan School’s green team decided they wanted an official “team name”, even though no other green team at Harvard had chosen to do this. There was a small internal contest, and “EcoOpportunity” (EcoOp) was chosen as the favorite. Volunteer Tiffany Colt (Operations Office), who had a background in design, created their logo.

Although interest was strong at first, eventually the effectiveness of these early EcoOp meetings dwindled. It was then that David Havelick and Jen Bowser, two Green Team volunteers, held an emergency one-on-one meeting. They decided to take on a leadership role together, form their own agendas (instead of relying on agendas sent by the Office for Sustainability), and to create subcommittees that tackled specific green initiatives. This restructuring allowed work to get done outside of each meeting, and created a sustainable model that allowed EcoOp to persist beyond the original Harvard University-wide experiment.

EcoOpportunity is one of the few green teams at Harvard that receives funding directly from a school, in addition to managerial support from Harvard Chan School Operations. Although initially a Harvard Chan School group, the team held their first joint meeting with Harvard Medical School volunteers in February 2014. The group’s mission is to inspire the Longwood Community to reduce environmental and health impacts, and help Harvard become a leader in campus sustainability efforts.

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Processing of the Paul Zamecnik papers has begun

By , July 25, 2016

Paul Zamecnik (1912-2009) was the Collis P. Huntington Professor of Oncologic Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and headed laboratories at the Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (1947-1979, 1997-2009) and the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Foundation, Worcester, Massachusetts (1979-1997). He is known for his work across multiple fields of biochemistry and molecular biology, including the identification and characterization of the principal components of protein synthesis. He was among those who discovered soluble molecular RNA, later known as transfer RNA (tRNA,) and discovered antisense RNAs and their therapeutic potential; Zamecnik produced the first evidence for the presence and potential role of microRNAs. The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to report that the Paul Zamecnik papers, a product of his research and career as an author and professor at Harvard Medical School, are currently being processed.

Paul Charles Zamecnik was born 22 November 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio, and at sixteen, enrolled at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. Zamecnik completed bachelor’s degrees at Dartmouth in both chemistry and zoology (1933), and received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (1936). He interned at Harvard’s Colllis P. Huntington Laboratories for Cancer Research and in 1938, was an intern at University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio. Zamecnik was a fellow at the Carlsberg Laboratories, Copenhagen, Denmark, but returned to the work at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, New York, New York, after the 1940 Nazi invasion of Denmark. He held a teaching position at Harvard Medical School during the war, and was then given his own laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital focusing on the mechanisms of protein synthesis. In 1956, Zamecnik became the Collis P. Huntington Professor of Oncologic Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and continued his research at Massachusetts General Hospital until his retirement to Professor Emeritus in 1979. At that time, he moved his research laboratory to the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, where he remained until 1997 when that foundation was absorbed by the University of Massachusetts. Zamecnik returned to Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cancer Center as a Senior Scientist, where he continued to work until weeks prior to his death in 2009. He was also a cofounder of Hybridon, Incorporated, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1990 to work on the development of antisense drugs; this company merged with Idera Pharmaceuticals in 2004.

Zamecnik is known for his work on protein synthesis, and the discovery of transfer RNA, as well as antisense RNAs and their therapeutic potential. During his early career, he was able to show the incorporation of C14 amino acid into the protein in rat liver slices, which led him to develop a cell-free system with Nancy L. Bucher (1913-) in order to dissect the intermediary events. In 1956, with this system in place, Zamecnik worked with Mahlon B. Hoagland (1921-2009) and Mary Louise Stephenson (1921-2009) to show that ATP was required for protein synthesis via the formation of amino acid adenylates. During this work, Zamecnik noted that ribosomes were the site of protein assembly, which led to the discovery of a small soluble molecular RNA, first called soluble RNA (sRNA) and later transfer RNA (tRNA). Zamecnik then created the cell-free system in E. coli, which led to the deciphering of the genetic code. In 1978, while working on the structure of the Rous sarcoma virus, he showed that it was possible to create a short chain of nucleotides, or a synthetic antisense chain, that would bind to the complementary nucleotide sequence of the messenger RNA (mRNA) strand. He was successful in using antisense oligos to block the replication, transcription, and translation of Rous sarcoma virus in chicken fibroblasts, from which a new chemotherapeutic concept was born. Later in his career, Zamecnik and his coworkers used antisense inhibition in in vitro systems to interfere with the growth of the influenza virus, HIV, f. malaria and M. tuberculosis. He was the first to publish evidence for the existence of microRNA, and showed that the insertion of oligonucleotides by transhybridization could correct the cystic fibrosis gene mutation and that antisense oligos could inhibit cell wall synthesis.

Throughout his career, Paul Zamecnik was an active professor and administrator at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He received several awards for his research efforts, including honorary doctorates from Columbia University, New York, New York (1971) and Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire (1987), as well as the National Medal of Science (1991), and the Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in the Medical Sciences (1996).

The papers, created throughout Zamecnik’s research, professional, and publishing activities, include research data and notes, grant and patent materials, correspondence, and writings and drafts. They are expected to be opened to research by July 2017. For more information on the processing of these papers, contact Elizabeth Coup, Processing Assistant.

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Processing of Dennis Kasper papers has begun

By , April 22, 2016

Dennis L. Kasper (1943-) is the William Ellery Channing Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology and Immunobology at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. He has had a long career studying infectious diseases, and  is known for his research related to bacterial carbohydrates, as well as the interactions of microbes with the immune system. He has focused on carbohydrates of group B Streptococcus, the foremost cause of serious neonatal bacterial infections, and Bacteroides fragilis, an intestinal commensal, and has studied the interactions of the microbiota with the mucosal and systemic immune systems, including Francisella tularensis, a potential agent of bioterrorism. He has also served as the Director of the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital;  the Executive Dean of Academic Programs, Harvard Medical School; and the Scientific Director at the New England Center on Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases at Harvard Medical School, all in Boston, Massachusetts. The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to report that the Dennis Kasper papers, a product of his professional activities, research, and career as a Professor and administrator at Harvard Medical School, are currently being processed as part of the Maximizing Microbiology: Molecular Genetics, Cancer, and Virology, 1936-2000 project.

Dennis L. Kasper was born on February 23, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois. He received his college degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1963, majoring in Zoology. Kasper completed his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, 1967, and later received an honorary Master’s of Arts from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1986. He began his time at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, in 1972, as a Research Fellow at the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 1975, Kasper was hired as an Assistant Physician, Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, and as a Harriet Ryan Albee Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He became an Associate in Medicine, Peter Brent Brigham Division of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (1977). Kasper acted as an Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School from 1978-1985, at which point he was promoted to Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. During this time, he became a Physician and the Director, Division of Infections, Beth Israel Hospital in 1981. Kasper acted as the Associate Director the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 1982-1988, when he became the Co-Director, and then the Director. His academic career included a post as the Edward Kass Professor of Medicine (1988) and then as the William Ellery Channing Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Harvard Medical School, positions Kasper has held since 1989. He additionally acted as the Executive Vice Chairman, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and as the Executive Dean for Academic Programs at Harvard Medical School (1997-2003). He continues to teach, and has served as the Scientific Director at the New England Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Harvard Medical School (2003-2014).

Much of Kasper’s research has been related to the interactions of microbes, both commensals and pathogens, with the immune systems. His laboratory research has focused on bacterial carbohydrates. In studies integrating structural carbohydrate chemistry, microbiology, immunology, biochemistry, and genetics, Kasper and his laboratory staff have studied the carbohydrates of group B Streptococcus, the foremost cause of serious neonatal bacterial infections, and Bacteroides fragilis, an important intestinal commensal. His research also encompasses the interactions of the microbiota with the mucosal and systemic immune systems.  His laboratory work on commensals has led to identification of other aspects of the microbiome‘s interactions with the immune system, including the relationship of the microbiome to iNKT cells and mammalian susceptibility to experimental colitis and asthma. Another area of Kasper’s work deals with Francisella tularensis, which is considered a potential agent of bioterrorism.

The papers, created throughout Kasper’s professional, research, teaching, and publishing activities, include correspondence, research data and notes, teaching records, grant and patent materials, and writings and drafts. They are expected to be opened to research by the end of 2016.

The Maximizing Microbiology: Molecular Genetics, Cancer, and Virology, 1936-2000 project is funded by a Hidden Collections grant from the Harvard University Libraries. In addition to the Harold Amos papers, the project will also open the collections of other scientists and professors whose work relates to the origins of molecular genetics: the Francesc Duran i Reynals papers, 1913-1960, the Arthur B. Pardee papers, 1949-2001, the Luigi Gorini papers, 1922-1988, the Myron Essex papers, 1949-1996, and the Harold Amos papers, 1949-2003. Already, the Bernard D. Davis papers, 1909-1995 (inclusive), 1939-1994 (bulk), have been opened as part of the project. For more information on the Maximizing Microbiology project, please contact Emily Novak Gustainis, Head, Collections Services or Elizabeth Coup, Processing Assistant.

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