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The American Association of Immunologists

Joseph E. Smadel

Brief Bio

Joseph E. Smadel was the forty-second president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1958 to 1959. A distinguished virologist, Smadel held several key research and administrative positions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (1946–1956) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH; 1956–1963).

Smadel received his M.D. from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1931. After serving as a house officer at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis (1931–1933), Smadel was an assistant at Washington University (1933–1934), where he developed his interest in virology while investigating the first known outbreak of St. Louis encephalitis. In 1934, Smadel joined the staff of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, where he conducted research in the laboratories of Homer Swift (AAI ’21) and Thomas M. Rivers (AAI ’21, president 1933–1934). Having risen from assistant to associate member, Smadel left the Rockefeller Institute in 1942 to serve in the U.S. Army during the Second World War as chief virologist with the First Medical General Laboratory in Europe. Returning to civilian life in 1946, Smadel accepted an appointment as chief investigator of the Department of Virus and Rickettsial Diseases at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (1946–1956), where, four years later, he was also named director of the Division of Communicable Diseases (1950–1956). In 1956, Smadel left Walter Reed to become associate director at the NIH. Eager to return to the laboratory after four years in administration, Smadel stepped down as associate director in 1960 to become chief of the Virology and Rickettsiology Laboratory in the NIH Division of Biologics Standards. He held this position until cancer forced him to step down in June 1963. Smadel died just weeks later, on July 21. He was 56.

Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award

1962, “for outstanding contributions to the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of virus and rickettsial diseases, including the demonstration of the efficacy of chloramphenicol as a cure for rickettsial infections—typhoid fever and epidemic and scrub typhus.”

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AAI Service History

Joined: 1937
President: 1958–1959
Vice President: 1957–1958
Councillor: 1955–1957

The Journal of Immunology
Associate Editor: 1949–1959
Editorial Board: 1959–1962

President's Address

"Some Aspects of Intracellular Infections," Delivered April 14, 1959

The Journal of Immunology 84, no. 1 (1960): 1–5.

Select Honors and Awards

Institutional/Biographical Links

  • Armed Forces Epidemiological Board profile, Office of Medical History, U.S. Army Medical Department

 


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