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Jonas Salk - Research Paper Example

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Jonas Salk was a medical researcher and virologist who became famous for his discovery and development of the first effective polio vaccine. Salk was born to Daniel and Dora Salk on October 28, 1914 in New York City…
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Download file to see previous pages Salk was the oldest of three children, having two younger brothers by the names of Herman and Lee. Despite the fact that Salk’s parents, being Russian-Jewish immigrants, had not been able to receive substantial and formal education, Salk was raised to be an intellectual, brilliant young man. Salk attended the local public schools of New York, but when it was time for him to begin high school at the young age of thirteen, he was sent to Townsend Harris High School. This high school was a free alternative to the expensive private schools for intellectually gifted students, catering to intellectually talented males of immigrant parents, just like Salk (McPherson 11). While in high school, Salk quickly became known for his intelligence and his desperate want to learn; he was constantly reading and he was one of the few students at the school who completed his four-year education in the required three, whereas most of his classmates dropped out before the three years were up. This success enabled Salk to attend City College of New York, which is one of the most competitive colleges in the United States. While Salk was in college, he worked for and obtained his Bachelor of Science degree. Salk originally attended the college with the hopes of one day becoming a lawyer, but his mother encouraged him to take an interest in the medical field instead. After his years at CCNY, Salk was accepted into New York University School of Medicine. Although Salk remained strong in his dislike of studying medicine, he found an interest in the research and scientific aspects of the medical field. He studied biochemistry and then eventually made his primary focus bacteriology, claiming that his “desire was to help humankind in general rather than single patients (Bookchin & Schumacher 72).” When Salk was in his final year at the medical school, he did a work study program in the laboratory of Doctor Thomas Francis, who was noted for having discovered the Type B influenza virus. Francis’ influence was great over Salk, and Salk became addicted to the field of virology. After medical school, Salk obtained an internship at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and continued to work in Francis’ laboratory whenever he got the chance. After his time at Mount Sinai, Salk sought for a more permanent research job, but had difficulty in doing so because of his Jewish heritage. He was unable to be hired at Mount Sinai, as this went against their rules, and Francis had moved and could not help Salk in his job-seeking endeavors. However, Francis had extra grant money and was able to give Salk a job, enabling him to work on an army-commissioned project to develop an influenza vaccine. It was during this time that Salk “discovered and isolated one of the flu strains that was included in the final vaccine (Sherrow 31).” In 1947, Salk set out to find an institution that would allow him to take charge of his own laboratory. He was offered space at the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine. After obtaining numerous grants, he was able to create the laboratory he required to continue his research on flu vaccines. Not too long after, Salk was offered a job to work with the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and aid the other researchers in creating a polio vaccination, a position that Salk was only too eager to accept. Polio had been a disease that stalked the human species since 1835 and Salk was desperate to rid the world of the devastation it caused. In the years leading up to 1955, Salk worked relentlessly to discover a safe and effective vaccination to treat the polio disease. People were so optimistic about the science that Salk was doing that, six months prior to the completion and approval of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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