Werner Henle, M.D.

Werner Henle

 Brief Bio

Werner Henle (1910–1987) was the forty-sixth president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1962 to 1963. He was a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine from 1936 to 1982 and director of the Division of Research Virology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 1939 to 1987. Henle is most famous for his work with his wife and research partner, Gertrude, on Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Together, they identified EBV as the cause of mononucleosis and established a link between EBV and certain types of cancer, including Burkitt’s lymphoma and nasopharynx carcinoma.

Born in Dortmund, Germany, Henle received his M.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 1934 and interned at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for two years. In 1936, Henle, who was part Jewish, left Nazi-controlled Germany, where anti-Jewish legislation barred him from entering the medical profession, for the United States. He settled in Philadelphia, where he became an instructor of bacteriology in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In 1939, he was named professor of virology in the Department of Pediatrics at the medical school and joined the staff of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he headed virological research. Henle retired from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1982 and was named professor emeritus, but he continued his research at Children’s Hospital until a few months before his death in 1987.

 AAI Service History

Joined: 1938
President: 1962–1963
Vice President: 1961–1962
Councillor: 1957–1961

The Journal of Immunology
Associate Editor: 1949–1958
Editorial Board: 1958–1967
Nominating Committee: 1967–1968

 President's Address

"Interference and Interferon in Persistent Viral Infections of Cell Cultures," Delivered April 17, 1963

The Journal of Immunology 91, no. 2 (1963): 145–50.

 Awards and Honors

  • E. Mead Johnson Award, 1950
  • Robert Koch Prize, 1971
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, 1975
  • Bristol-Myers Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research, 1979
  • Gold Medal Award, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 1983

 Institutional/Biographical Links

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