Rockefeller University, incorporated in 1901, was among the first to research protein and nucleic acid chemistry.
John D. Rockefeller, the legendary oil magnate and philanthropist, founded the university that bears his name on June 14, 1901 after his grandson died from scarlet fever. Originally called the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, it was the first institution in the United States devoted solely to biomedical research — to understanding the underlying causes of disease.
Rockefeller is devoid of traditional departmental barriers, which encourages collaboration among teachers and students trained in different disciplines. The atmosphere is informal and faculty members are readily accessible. Innovation is prized; students are encouraged to explore novel questions and to design and conduct unusual experiments. The approach has paid invaluable dividends in advancing the frontiers of scientific knowledge.
Scientists at Rockefeller discovered that genes are made of DNA, found the Rh factor in blood, demonstrated the connection between cholesterol and heart disease, developed vaccines against meningitis, and introduced methadone to manage heroin addiction. Of the 21 Nobel laureates associated with Rockefeller, five received the prize in chemistry.
The American Chemical Society designated nucleic acid and protein chemistry at Rockefeller University as a National Historic Chemical Landmark in New York City on October 20, 2000.
Visit National Historic Chemical Landmarks to learn more about Rockefeller University.
Excerpted with permission, National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program