In 1887, the U.S. Government established the Hygenic Laboratory in Staten Island as a national center devoted to researching the spread and treatment of infectious disease. This lab was staffed by one man: 27-year-old Joseph Kinyoun, who would eventually become the first director of NIH. The Atlantic deemed this the photo of the day today and just last month The Scientist’s Cristina Luiggi wrote:
“Joseph James Kinyoun, belonged to a new generation of scientists and physicians who were beginning to understand how microscopic organisms underlay the terrible killers of their day, such as smallpox, yellow fever, and Asiatic cholera. That one-room lab on Staten Island, which Kinyoun originally called “the Laboratory of Hygiene,” ultimately evolved into the 27 institutes and centers that now make up the National Institutes of Health.
Kinyoun’s tenure as the first director of the NIH lasted 12 years, but his role in shaping how the federal government dealt with the country’s health continued well after his retirement. Following several deaths due to contaminated and shoddily produced vaccines, he pushed hard for the implementation of universal standards for the production of medicines.”
124 years later it’s important to not only remember where we came from, but to also reflect on the direction in which we are headed. With ample resources, NIH will undoubtedly continue to unlock the next generation of cutting-edge science.
To see the full article in The Scientist, visit their web site.
Image: National Cancer Institute. Via The Scientist.