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Rockefeller University

The Rockefeller University
Motto Scientia pro bono humani generis (Latin)
Motto in English
Science for the benefit of humanity
Established 1901
Type Private
Endowment $1.65 billion[1]
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne
Location New York City (Upper East Side, Manhattan), United States
Website .eduRockefeller

The Rockefeller University is an American private university located in New York City in the United States, offering postgraduate and postdoctoral education. It conducts research mainly in biological sciences and medical science, and has produced or attracted many Nobel laureates. It has the highest number of Nobel Prizes in relation to personnel involved in research in the world. The Rockefeller University is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, between 63rd and 68th Streets along York Avenue.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne—previously executive vice president of research and chief scientific officer at Genentech—became the university's tenth president on March 16, 2011.

The Rockefeller University Press publishes the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the Journal of Cell Biology, and The Journal of General Physiology.


  • History 1
    • Research breakthroughs 1.1
    • Notable individuals 1.2
  • At a glance 2
    • Research areas 2.1
    • University community statistics 2.2
  • Nobel Prize winners 3
  • Notable alumni 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Founder's Hall
The Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive runs under the campus

The Rockefeller University was founded in June 1901 as The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research—often called simply The Rockefeller Institute—by

  • The Rockefeller University
  • The Rockefeller University Newswire
  • The Rockefeller University Hospital
  • The Rockefeller University Press
  • Natural Selections (an unofficial Rockefeller University newsletter)
  • Rockefeller Archive Center
  • Rockefeller University Archives

External links

  • Hanson, Elizabeth. The Rockefeller University Achievements: A Century of Science for the Benefit of Humankind, 1901-2001 (New York: The Rockefeller University Press, 2000).


  1. ^ As of June 2012. "FY2012 budget closes with modest deficit". The Rockefeller University. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Chernow R. Titan: The Life of John D Rockefeller Sr (New York: Vintage Books, 2004), pp 471–2.
  3. ^ a b c d Swingle AM. "The Rockefeller chronicle". Hopkins Medical News. Fall 2002.
  4. ^ Hannaway C. Biomedicine in the Twentieth Century: Practices, Policies, and Politics (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2008), p 230, note 46.
  5. ^ "Herbert S Gasser—biography". September 6, 2011 (Web-access date).
  6. ^ "The Rockefeller University Hospital". February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
  7. ^ "At Rockefeller Hospital". Time. May 24, 1937.
  8. ^ 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.  
  9. ^ Van Epps HL (2005). "Peyton Rous: Father of the tumor virus". J. Exp. Med. 201 (3): 320.  
  10. ^ Fischer A (1922). "Cultures of organized tissues". J. Exp. Med. 36 (4): 393–7.  
  11. ^ Frierson JG (2010). "The yellow fever vaccine: A history"—section "First vaccine attempts". Yale J. Biol. Med. 83 (2): 77–85.  
  12. ^ Van Epps, H. L. (2005). "Thomas Rivers and the EAE model". J. Exp. Med. 202: 4.  
  13. ^ "Rivers, Thomas Milton (1888-1962)". American Decades. 2001. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
  14. ^ Zimmerman BE, Zimmerman DJ. Killer Germs (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003), p 35.
  15. ^ "Thomas Francis Jr". Encyclopædia Britannica. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
  16. ^ McCarty, Maclyn (2003). "Discovering genes are made of DNA". Nature 421 (6921): 406.  
  17. ^ "Wendell Meredith Stanley". Encyclopædia Britannica. February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
  18. ^ Simon SM (1999). "An award for cell biology". J. Cell. Biol. 147 (5): 2 p following table of contents.  
  19. ^ "Jeffrey Friedman, discoverer of leptin, receives Gairdner, Passano awards". Medical News Today. April 14, 2005.
  20. ^ "Joshua Lederberg—biography". February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
  21. ^ "Paul Nurse to resign as Rockefeller president to become president of Royal Society of London in December". Newswire. The Rockefeller University. April 23, 2010.
  22. ^ Nybo, Kristie (2010). "Profile of Thomas Sakmar". BioTechniques 49: 779.  
  23. ^ Chernow, Titan, 2004, p 475.
  24. ^ a b Arenson KW, the presents"gives"Turning 90, a Rockefeller , New York Times, June 9, 2005.
  25. ^ Rockefeller University, "David Rockefeller honored with named professorship: Barry Coller will be first David Rockefeller Professor", News & Notes, 2000 Dec 15;12(12).
  26. ^ "Research areas". February 18, 2011 (Web-access date).
  27. ^ "Quick Facts". June 27, 2013 (Web-access date).



Notable alumni

Nobel Prize winners

  • 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

University community statistics

  • biochemistry, structural biology, chemistry
  • molecular cell & developmental biology
  • medical sciences & human genetics
  • immunology, virology, microbiology
  • physics & mathematical biology
  • neuroscience

Research areas

To foster an interdisciplinary atmosphere among its 73 laboratories, the university assigns a faculty member to one of six interconnecting research areas.[26][27]

At a glance

Urged by Rockefeller Jr, his only son, who was enthusiastic about the Institute, Rockefeller Sr visited but once.[23] Rockefeller Jr's youngest son David would visit with his father.[24] 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,[25] and remained active as a philanthropist.[24]

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.[20] Paul Nurse, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001, became President in 2003.[21] (Before Nurse's tenure, Thomas Sakmar was acting-president from 2002.[22]) 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.

Notable individuals

Rockefeller researchers were the first to culture the infectious agent associated with syphilis,[8] showed that viruses can be oncogenic, and enabled the field tumor biology,[9] developed tissue culture techniques,[10] developed the practice of travel vaccination,[11] identified the phenomenon of autoimmune disease,[12] developed virology as an independent field,[13] developed the first antibiotic,[14] obtained the first American isolation of influenzavirus A and first isolation of influenzavirus B,[15] showed that genes are structurally composed of DNA,[16] discovered blood groups, resolved that virus particles are protein crystals,[17] helped develop the field cell biology,[18] resolved antibody structure, developed methadone treatment of heroin addiction, devised the AIDS drug cocktail, and identified the appetite-regulating hormone leptin.[19]

Research breakthroughs

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.[6] The Rockefeller Hospital's first director Rufus Cole retired in 1937 and was succeeded by Thomas Milton Rivers.[7] As director of The Rockefeller Institute's virology laboratory, he established virology as an independent field apart from bacteriology.

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.[3] Flexner retired in 1935 and was succeeded by Herbert Gasser.[5] He was succeeded in 1953 by Detlev Bronk, who broadened The Rockefeller Institute into a university that began awarding the PhD degree in 1954.[3] In 1965 The Rockefeller Institute's name was changed to The Rockefeller University.[3]


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