- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Harry Eagle

Born 1905
Died 1992

Related eponyms


U.S. pathologist and cell biologist, born 1905, New York; died June 12, 1992.

Biography of Harry Eagle

Harry Eagle grew up in Baltimore and graduated M.D. from Johns Hopkins University Medical School in 1927. He remained at Johns Hopkins for the next twenty years as director of its Venereal Disease Research Laboratory and Laboratory of Experimental Therapeutics. During World War II he entered the U.S. Public Health Service, and in 1947 he joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH), holding positions as scientific director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), then as Chief of the Experimental Therapeutics section of the National Microbiological Institute, and later as chief of the Cell Biology Laboratory of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases (NIAID).

In 1961 he joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine as the founding Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology. He was later founding Director of its Cancer Research Center in which he remained active until last year.

Eagle's early career was devoted to immunological approaches to the diagnosis of syphilis, and in the late 1930's he studied the mechanism of blood coagulation and proposed the enzymatic basis for the clotting mechanism.

Harry Eagle is now particularly remembered for work he began in 1955 to establish the compounds necessary to support the growth of cells in tissue culture. The culture media required for the propagation of animal cells are much more complex than the minimal media sufficient to support the growth of bacteria and yeasts. One result of his research became known as Eagle's medium, which opened the way to the last three decades of extraordinary research on the biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics of normal and malignant mammalian cells.

He was president of the American Society of Microbiology in 1958. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Science, the country's highest scientific honour.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.