Thomas Francis, Jr., M.D.

Thomas Francis, Jr.

 Brief Bio

Thomas Francis, Jr. (1900–1969), was the thirty-third president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1949 to 1950. He was the Henry Sewall University Professor and chairman of the Department of Epidemiology of the University of Michigan School of Public Health from 1941 to 1969. Francis gained renown for his studies on influenza during the 1930s and 1940s, and, in 1954, he oversaw the trials of the polio vaccine developed by his former research fellow Jonas Salk (AAI ’47) and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh.

Francis received his M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine in 1925 and completed a two-year residency at the New Haven Hospital under Francis G. Blake (AAI ’21, president 1934–1935). Blake, who also chaired the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale, hired Francis as an instructor in 1927. The following year, Francis became an assistant at the Rockefeller Institute Hospital, where he was mentored by Rufus I. Cole (AAI ’17, president 1920–1921). After rising to the rank of associate in 1931, Francis left the hospital in 1936 to join the staff of the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation. Two years later, he was appointed professor of bacteriology and director of the Bacteriological Laboratories at the New York University College of Medicine, a position he held until he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 1941.

 Lasker Award

1947 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award “for contributions to our total knowledge of influenza, and the development of a vaccine effective against types A and B successfully used during World War II.” Click here for more details.

 AAI Service History

Joined: 1930
President: 1949–1950
Councillor: 1948–1949, 1950–1954

The Journal of Immunology
Associate Editor: 1943–1948
Editor: 1948–1949
Editorial Board: 1949–1957

 President's Address

"Immunology and Preservation of the Norm," Delivered April 18, 1950

The Journal of Immunology 65, no. 4 (1950): 437–42.

 Awards and Honors

  • U.S. Medal of Freedom, 1946
  • Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, 1947
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1948
  • Member, American Philosophical Society, 1954
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1960
  • Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, U.S. Army, 1967

 Institutional/Biographical Links