Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, 1962


The medical school's Department of Microbiology was first established in 1962, although prior to that time microbiology courses had been offered through the pathology department. The creation of the department was a result of Dean Joseph Hayman's efforts to strengthen the basic science departments. Dr. James T. Park, a well-known microbial biochemist, was recruited to become the first department chair. Dr. Park went on to build a strong department and recruited a number of faculty members, including Drs. Moselio Schaechter, H. Vasken Aposhian, Edward Goldberg, Andrew Wright, and Abraham L. Sonnenshein - each of whom possessed an outstanding background and productive record.

In 1968 the name of the department was changed from "microbiology" to "molecular biology and microbiology." That year Dr. Victor Najjar was recruited to direct an independent section on protein chemistry and to hold the first American Cancer Society (Massachusetts division) Chair in Molecular Biology at Tufts. When Dr. Najjar achieved emeritus status he was succeeded by Dr. John Coffin. That year Dr. Ralph Isberg, a Harvard Medical School graduate and a subsequent National Science Foundation/Presidential Young Investigator, joined the faculty. He has since become an assistant investigator at Tufts for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

When Dr. Park stepped down in 1970 in order to spend more time on his research, Dr. Moselio Schaechter, who holds a Ph. D. in microbiology from the University of Pennsylvania, was named professor and chair; he has continued to lead the department for the past twenty-three years. Dr. Schaechter has been named a Distinguished Professor at Tufts in recognition of his many accomplishments. He has also served as president of the American Society of Microbiology and of the Association of Medical School Microbiology Chairs.

The Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology has excelled in its mission to provide students with quality instruction. Its graduate program, which was launched in 1965, has produced sixty-four Ph. D.'s and thirty-six predoctoral graduates. These graduates have gone on to hold training positions in the world's finest research institutions and have been unusually successful in establishing their own research groups.

The department's faculty are well-known for their work and have been asked to present countless lectures and seminars all over the world. All of its members serve on editorial review boards for prestigious journals; many hold memberships in distinguished national committees and NIH study sections. Each has an extensive list of publications.

Faculty have made important discoveries concerning the regulation of gene expression; cell and chromosome division in bacteria; bacterial differentiation; the mode of action of antibiotics; the dispersal of bacteria in natural environments; the mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis; bacteriophage genetics and replication; retrovirus replication and evolution; and gene expression in higher cells.

Source: COE, 134-36.

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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