Virology: Timeline of key events

Mouseover the event title for a more detailed description of the event (if available). To search for particular terms in the description of the event enter the term in the box below 'Event' on the table and press 'enter'. Alternatively use the dropdown lists to filter by Person, Place or Science. Click here to clear the filter.

The cloning, achieved by Beverly Griffin with Tomas Lindahl, was announced to a meeting at Cold Spring Harbor2018-06-18T07:42:18+0000Ivanovsky was a microbiologist who was one the first scientists to discover viruses. He made the discovery based on a request to investigate a disease that was destroying tobacco crops in the Ukraine which he carried out while a doctoral student. Initially he believed the destruction was due to mosaic disease, which was commonly linked to bacteria. He then noticed that sap filtered from the diseased plants could transfer the infection to healthy plants. With the microorganism proving invisible even under the highest magnification and able to permeate porcelain filters designed to trap bacteria, Ivanosky concluded the causal agent was an extremely tiny infectious agent. He first described his findings in an article in 1882 and then in a dissertation in 1902. 1864-11-09T00:00:00+0000d'Herelle was a microbiologist who co-discovered bacteriophages (phages), viruses that infect bacteria that are now major tools in biotechnology. He isolated the first phage from chicken faeces in 1919. Following this he successfully treated chicken affected by a plague of typhus with the phage and in August 1919 cured a patient with dysentery using the same method. This laid the basis for the development of phage therapy. 1873-04-25T00:00:00+0000A pathologist, Rous won the 1966 Nobel Prize for showing how viruses could cause cancer. He demonstrated this in 1910 by transplanting some material from a cancer tumour taken from a chicken into a healthy chicken. The healthy chicken developed cancer. Other scientists struggled to replicate his experiment in mammals so his discovery was initially dismissed. 1879-10-05T00:00:00+0000Goodpasture developed a method of culturing viruses in chicken embryos and fertilized chicken eggs. Before this viruses were grown in living tissues which could be contaminated by bacteria. Goodpasture's method laid the foundation for the development of vaccines for smallpox, yellow fever, typhus and chicken pox.1886-10-17T00:00:00+0000Enders shared the 1954 Nobel Prize for helping to develop a technique to grow the poliomyeltitis virus, paving the way to a vaccine against polio. Enders also helped pioneer a vaccine against measles. 1897-02-10T00:00:00+0000Wyckoff pioneered x-ray crystallography of bacteria.1897-08-09T00:00:00+0000Lwoff was a microbiologist. He shared the 1965 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis'. This was based on work he carried out in the early 1950s to understand lysogeny. This is the process by which some the genes of some viruses, bacteriophages (phage), get incorporated into the genetic material of a bacteria but remain latent until the formation of a new phage triggered by a particular event. He found that exposure to ultraviolet light was one factor that could spur on the development a new phage. Lwoff also discovered that vitamins help promote growth in microbes and can serve as co-enzymes. 1902-05-08T00:00:00+0000Stanley was a biochemist and virologist. In 1935 he managed to crystalise the tobacco virus, the causative agent of plant disease. This was a major breakthrough because prior to this no scientists had succeeded in finding out what viruses were. His work laid the foundation for other scientists, using x-ray diffraction, to work out the precise molecular structures and reproduction process of several viruses. During World War II he managed to purify several of the most common influenza viruses and developed a vaccine that was partly effective. In 1946 he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the 'preparation of enzymes and virus proteins in a pure form.'1904-08-16T00:00:00+0000A German biophysicist, Delbruck helped discover how viruses replicate their genetic structure, showing that bacterial resistance from viruses is due to random mutation and not the result of adaptive changes. In 1969 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the back of this work. 1906-09-04T00:00:00+0000Pirie was a virus physiologist and biochemist. He helped determine that the genetic component of viruses was RNA. Before this viruses were thought to be made up completely of proteins. During World War II he explored the possibility of extracting edible proteins from leaves, research that he carried on into the 1970s. His experiments were directed towards solving the food problem posed by the growing world population. He hoped to replace the inefficient method of feeding animals to secure protein for the diet.1907-07-01T00:00:00+0000Hershey was a bacteriologist and geneticist. He is best known for a series of experiments with bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, that helped confirm that DNA, rather than proteins, carried genetic material. These he performed with Martha Chase in 1952. Hershey shared the 1969 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses.' 1908-12-04T00:00:00+0000Fraenkel-Conrat was a biochemist who discovered that RNA is pivotal to the genetic control of viral reproduction and that it is carried in the nucelic core of each virus. He made this finding in 1955 during experiments with the tobacco mosaic virus. By 1960 he had determined the complete sequence of the 159 amino acids in the virus.1910-04-29T00:00:00+0000The research was carried out by Peyton Rous. The idea that a virus could cause cancer was greeted with scepticism in the scientific community.1911-01-01T00:00:00+0000Luria shared the 1969 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses.'1912-08-13T00:00:00+0000Dulbecco shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.' His work not only aided better understanding of how viruses cause cancer but also HIV. 1914-02-22T00:00:00+0000A medical researcher and virologist, Salk pioneered the first safe and effective polio vaccine. Introduced in 1955, Salk's vaccine helped curb one of the most frightening public health diseases in the world. Over 1,800,000 school children took part in the trial to test his vaccine. His vaccine used killed vaccine rather than weakened forms of the strain of polio used by Sabin to develop another vaccine against the disease. Salk refused to patent his vaccine and made his technique as widely available as possible. His polio vaccine is now on the World Health Organisation's List of Essential Medicine.1914-10-28T00:00:00+0000Weller was a physician and virologist whose development of tissue-culture methods, with John P. Enders and Frederick C. Robbins, in October 1949 opened up the means to study viral diseases. Their work paved the way to the development of the polio vaccine. The virus was grown in cultures of human foreskin and embryonic tissues. Weller shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1954 for the 'discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue.'1915-06-15T00:00:00+0000Robbins co-pioneered the growth of the poliomyelitis virus in a test tube from infected tissue which paved the way to the development of vaccines against the disease. 1916-08-25T00:00:00+0000Ivanovsky was a Russian microbiologist who was one the first scientists to discover viruses. He made the discovery based on a request to investigate a disease that was destroying tobacco crops in the Ukraine which he carried out while a doctoral student. Initially he believed the destruction was due to mosaic disease, which was commonly linked to bacteria. He then noticed that sap filtered from the diseased plants could transfer the infection to healthy plants. With the microorganism proving invisible even under the highest magnification and able to permeate porcelain filters designed to trap bacteria, Ivanosky concluded the causal agent was an extremely tiny infectious agent. He first described his findings in an article in 1882 and then in a dissertation in 1902. 1920-06-20T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places Sciences
2018First DNA fragments of Epstein Barr Virus cloned Griffin, LindahlImperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, University of GothenbergRecombinant DNA, Virology, Cloning
9 Nov 1864Dmitry Iosifovich Ivanovsky was born in Gdov, RussiaIvanovskyUniversity of St PetersburgVirology
25 Apr 1873Felix d'Herelle was born in Montreal, Canadad'HerellePasteur InstituteAntibacterial agents, Bacteriophages, Bacteriology, Virology
5 Oct 1879Francis Peyton Rous was born in Baltimore MD, USARousRockefeller UniversityVirology, Oncology
17 Oct 1886Ernest Goodpasture was born Clarksville, TN, USAGoodpastureHarvard UniversityVirology, Vaccine
10 Feb 1897John F Enders was born West Hartford, CT, USAEndersChildren's Hospital BostonVirology, Vaccine
9 Aug 1897Ralph W G Wyckoff was born in Geneva, NY, USAWyckoffRockefeller UniversityBacteriology, Virology
8 May 1902Andre Lwoff was born in Ainay-le-Chateau, FranceLwoffPasteur InstituteMicrobiology, Virology
16 Aug 1904Wendell M Stanley was born in Ridgeville IN, USAStanleyRockefeller InstituteBiochemistry, Virology, Vaccine
4 Sep 1906Max Delbruck was born in Berlin, GermanyDelbruckCalifornia Institute of TechnologyGenetics, Virology
1 Jul 1907Norman Wingate (Bill) Pirie was born in Eastbourne, UKPirie Rothamsted Experimental StationRNA, Virology
4 Dec 1908Alfred D Hershey was born in Owosso, MI, USAHersheyCarnegie Institution of WashingtonGenetics, Virology
29 Apr 1910Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat was bornFraenkel-Conrat University of California BerkeleyGenetics, Virology
1911Research provided the first evidence that virus transmits cancer in chickensRousRockefeller InstituteImmunology, Oncology, Virology
13 Aug 1912Salvador E Luria was born in Torino, ItalyLuriaMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyGenetics, Virology
22 Feb 1914Renato Dulbecco was born in Catanzaro, ItalyDulbeccoImperial Cancer Research Fund LaboratoryGenetics, Virology, Oncology
28 Oct 1914Jonas Salk was born in New York City, USASalkUniversity of PittsburghVirology, Vaccine
15 Jun 1915Thomas H Weller was born in Ann Arbor MI, USAWellerChildren's Medical Center Boston, Harvard UniversityVirology
25 Aug 1916Frederick Chapman Robbins was born in Auburn AL, USARobbinsWestern Reserve UniversityVirology, Vaccine
20 Jun 1920Dmitry I Ivanovsky diedIvanovskyUniversity of St PetersburgVirology

2018

First DNA fragments of Epstein Barr Virus cloned

9 Nov 1864

Dmitry Iosifovich Ivanovsky was born in Gdov, Russia

25 Apr 1873

Felix d'Herelle was born in Montreal, Canada

5 Oct 1879

Francis Peyton Rous was born in Baltimore MD, USA

17 Oct 1886

Ernest Goodpasture was born Clarksville, TN, USA

10 Feb 1897

John F Enders was born West Hartford, CT, USA

9 Aug 1897

Ralph W G Wyckoff was born in Geneva, NY, USA

8 May 1902

Andre Lwoff was born in Ainay-le-Chateau, France

16 Aug 1904

Wendell M Stanley was born in Ridgeville IN, USA

4 Sep 1906

Max Delbruck was born in Berlin, Germany

1 Jul 1907

Norman Wingate (Bill) Pirie was born in Eastbourne, UK

4 Dec 1908

Alfred D Hershey was born in Owosso, MI, USA

29 Apr 1910

Heinz Ludwig Fraenkel-Conrat was born

1911

Research provided the first evidence that virus transmits cancer in chickens

13 Aug 1912

Salvador E Luria was born in Torino, Italy

22 Feb 1914

Renato Dulbecco was born in Catanzaro, Italy

28 Oct 1914

Jonas Salk was born in New York City, USA

15 Jun 1915

Thomas H Weller was born in Ann Arbor MI, USA

25 Aug 1916

Frederick Chapman Robbins was born in Auburn AL, USA

20 Jun 1920

Dmitry I Ivanovsky died