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Alwin M. “Pap” Pappenheimer was the thirty-eighth president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1954 to 1955. Continuing a family legacy of distinction in science and medicine, Pappenheimer held positions at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University (NYU) before spending the final two decades of his research career as a professor of biology at Harvard University.
Pappenheimer earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Harvard University in 1932 and remained there one additional year as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Hans Zinsser (AAI ’17, president 1919–1920). Awarded a National Research Council Fellowship, Pappenheimer spent 1933 to 1935 at the National Institute of Medical Research in London. He returned to Harvard without job prospects at the height of the Great Depression in 1935 but secured three concurrent positions the following year as an instructor in applied immunology in the School of Public Health (1936–1939), a Bradford Fellow at Harvard Medical School (1936–1937), and a senior chemist in the Massachusetts State Antitoxin and Vaccine Lab (1936–1939). In 1939, Pappenheimer left Massachusetts for Pennsylvania, where, for the next two years, he was an assistant professor in biochemistry and bacteriology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. When Colin MacLeod (AAI ’37, president 1951–1952) became chair of the Department of Microbiology at the NYU College of Medicine in 1941, he recruited Pappenheimer to the faculty. At NYU, Pappenheimer rose from assistant professor (1941–1946) to associate professor (1946–1949), professor (1949–1958), and, upon MacLeod’s departure in 1956, chairman of the Department of Microbiology (1956–1958). In 1958, Pappenheimer returned to Harvard, accepting a joint appointment as professor of biology (1958–1979) and chairman of the Board of Tutors in Biochemical Sciences (1958–1963). He retired in 1979, at which time he was named emeritus professor.
Vice President: 1953–1954
The Journal of Immunology
Associate Editor: 1947–1962, 1965–1969
"Use of Diphtheria Toxin and Toxoid in the Study of Immediate and Delayed Hypersensitivity in Man," Delivered April 12, 1955
The Journal of Immunology 75, no. 4 (1955): 259–64.