Julian, Percy (Lavon)(1899–1975) chemist, inventor; born in Montgomery, Ala. The grandson of a former slave, he graduated from DePauw University in Indiana, pursued graduate studies at Harvard, and taught chemistry at Howard University. Denied a professorship at Harvard because of his race, he returned to DePauw. There, in 1935, he synthesized the drug physostigmine, used to treat glaucoma. In 1936 he became director of research for the soya products division of the Glidden Company in Chicago. He and his associates developed scores of soya derivatives, most notably cortisone, used in the treatment of arthritis and other afflictions. He left Glidden in 1953 to establish Julian Laboratories. From 1964 until his death he headed the Julian Research Institute and served as a consultant to the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.