Luria, Salvador

Luria, Salvador (Edward)

(1912–91) virologist; born in Turin, Italy. At the Curie Laboratory of the Institute of Radium, Paris (1938–40), he studied the effects of radiation on bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria). He then fled the Fascists by emigrating to teach at Columbia University (1940–42). As a research fellow at Vanderbilt (1942–43), he began at informal collaboration with bacteriophage scientists Max Delbrück and Alfred Hershey. Luria pursued his bacteriophage research at the Universities of Indiana (1943–50) and Illinois (1950–59), demonstrating both the effects of bacteriophage genetic material on host bacteria, and spontaneous mutations in bacteriophages. With Delbrück and Hershey, Luria won the 1969 Nobel Prize in physiology. He joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (1959–78) and was founding director of MIT's Center for Cancer Research (1972–85). He published General Virology, the first text of virology as an independent science (1953), was an editor and adviser to many professional journals, and remained active after retirement, as both a scholar and a peace activist.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.