Geoffrey Edsall, M.D.

Geoffrey Edsall

 Brief Bio

Geoffrey Edsall (1908–1980) was the thirty-fourth president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1950 to 1951. A leader in public health, Edsall held several prominent posts over the course of his career, most notably as superintendent of the laboratories of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and professor of applied microbiology at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) from 1960 to 1972.

Edsall received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1934. Following an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital (1934–1936) and a research fellowship in the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (1936–1939), he became the assistant director of the Division of the Biologic Laboratories of the Massachusetts DPH in 1939. Three years later, he was appointed director, a position he held until 1949. While at the DPH, Edsall taught at HSPH from 1940 to 1949, rising to the rank of assistant professor. He left the DPH for the Boston University School of Medicine, where he was professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology from 1949 to 1951. Edsall moved to Washington, DC, in 1951 to accept an appointment as director of the Division of Immunology (1951–1956) and, later, director of the Division of Communicable Diseases (1956–1960) at the Army Medical Service Graduate School at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Returning to Massachusetts in 1960, Edsall became superintendent of the Institute of Laboratories of the DPH and professor of applied microbiology at HSPH, with which he had remained affiliated as a visiting lecturer since his 1949 departure from the full-time faculty. He chaired the Department of Microbiology at HSPH briefly in 1972 before retiring from Harvard, where he was named emeritus professor, and the DPH later in the year. From 1972 to 1975, Edsall lived in London, where he was professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

 AAI Service History

Joined: 1943
President: 1950–1951
Councillor: 1947–1950

The Journal of Immunology
Managing Editor: 1948–1949*
Editor-in-Chief: 1949–1954
Editorial Board: 1954–1959
Associate Editor: 1961–1965

* The title of Managing Editor of The JI changed to Editor-in-Chief with volume 63, number 1 (September 1, 1949).

Committee to Study the Question of Improving the Program at the Annual Meeting: 1957–1958

 President's Address

"What is Immunology? A Somewhat Unscientific (and Inadequately Controlled) Enquiry into the Scope and Interests of the American Association of Immunologists and the Journal of Immunology," Delivered April 30, 1951

The Journal of Immunology 67, no. 2 (1951): 167–72.

 Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1950
  • Lemuel Shattuck Award, 1971
  • Sydney Rubbo Memorial Orator, Australian Society for Microbiology, 1974

 Institutional/Biographical Links

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