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How Polio Changed Us, Scientific and Medical Legacy
Photo of Francis Crick pointing to the model of the DNA structure with James Watson looking on
James Watson (left) and Francis Crick in 1953 Courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library

Polio and the Nobel Prize
Over the years, the March of Dimes has funded many research projects related to polio as well as other health issues. For example, twenty-four-year-old James Watson traveled to the University of Cambridge in England on a National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis grant in 1952. There he met Francis Crick and began a scientific collaboration that led to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA … and a Nobel Prize.

Polio and the Nobel Prize
The March of Dimes has funded eight Nobel Prize winners:
bullet 1954, Linus Pauling, Ph.D., Chemistry
bullet 1954, John F. Enders, Ph.D., Thomas H. Weller, M.D., Frederick Robbins, M.D., Physiology or Medicine
bullet 1962, James D. Watson, Ph.D., Physiology or Medicine
bullet 1969, Max Delbrück, Ph.D., Physiology or Medicine
bullet 1976, D. Carleton Gajdusek, M.D., Physiology or Medicine
bullet 1985, Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D., Physiology or Medicine
The influence of polio extends into other scientific areas. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies was built by Jonas Salk with funding from the March of Dimes, and eighteen Nobel laureates affiliated with the institute received March of Dimes support:
bullet 1946, Wendell M. Stanley
bullet 1947, Carl F. Cori
bullet 1958, Edward L. Tatum
bullet 1962, Francis H. C. Crick
bullet 1965, Jacques Monod and André Lwoff
bullet 1968, Marshall Nirenberg and Robert Holley
bullet 1969, Salvador E. Luria
bullet 1970, Julius Axelrod
bullet 1972, Gerald M. Edelman
bullet 1975, Renato Dulbecco and David Baltimore
bullet 1977, Roger Guillemin
bullet 1978, Daniel Nathans
bullet 1980, Paul Berg
bullet 1981, Torsten N. Wiesel
bullet 1987, Susumu Tonegawa
Photo of a science lab
Innovative laboratory setup at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Courtesy of Salk Institute for Biological Studies

In 1963 Jonas Salk founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Dr. Richard Rietz recalled that it “introduced open laboratories, modular lab planning, ease of communication between scientists, reconfigurable lab utilities and services, and cantilevered benches.”

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