Jackson Laboratory Bar Harbor, MeVariant names
In 1929, the geneticist C. C. Little founded the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine (now the Jackson Laboratory), a major center for the study of mammalian genetics, cancer, and related areas in basic biomedical research.
As an undergraduate at Harvard, Little took an interest in studying the inheritance of coat coloration of mice, and in 1909 developed the first inbred strain of mice for use in genetic and biomedical experimentation. Continuing as a graduate student under William E. Castle, Little received his doctorate in 1914 for research on the inheritance of susceptibility and resistance to tumor transplants in mice, and began a distinguished career that led him to the presidencies of both the University of Maine and University of Michigan before his fortieth birthday. Despite his administrative duties, he remained active in research, and when he left Michigan in 1929 over political disputes with the Regents, he was soon able to secure funding to establish the Jackson Laboratories as an institution for "research in cancer and the effects of radiation."
The misfortune of opening a research center only months before the stock market crash of 1929 resulted in several years of financial hardship for the Laboratory. Yet ever charismatic and opportunistic, in 1933 Little lit upon the idea of generating income for the laboratory by selling excess stocks of inbred mice to other researchers, and two million mice and 2,500 varieties later, the Jackson remains a center for supplying genetically pure mice for research purposes.
Despite the hardships of the Depression, Little lured an impressive staff to the coast of Maine, including George D. Snell (who later won a Nobel prize for his discovery of the major histocompatibility complex), Elizabeth "Tibby" Russell, and George Woolley, and he enthusiastically encouraged a broad range of research on a number of mammalian taxa, including the introduction of behavior genetic research at Hamilton Station. During the Second World War, the Laboratory provided thousands of mice for use in investigating the effects of poison gases and for the production of encephalitis-B serum, but the relative prosperity it brought was curtailed when the laboratory and nearly all of the mouse stocks were destroyed by fire in 1947. Tibby Russell directed the efforts to rebuild the "inbred nucleus" of mouse stocks with the assistance of scientists who had purchased Jackson mice in the past, and the laboratory emerged from the episode as a stronger institution.
After 27 years as Director at the Laboratory, Little stepped aside in 1956 and was replaced by Earl Green. Very much a contrast to Little, Green brought a micro-managerial style to the position that chafed several of the scientists on staff, and he exerted his control in part by curtailing the breadth of research. Green showed little interest in exploiting new areas in genetic research, rejecting a move into biochemistry or immunology, and he attempted to shut down the successful program in behavior genetics at Hamilton Station. In short, Green's tenure brought an almost exclusive focus on mouse genetics combined with a steady deterioration of relations between the administration and the scientific and support staff.
Following Green's retirement in 1975, Richmond Prehn attempted to recraft the Laboratory into a broader center for research in the mold of Rockefeller University, downplaying mouse genetics and mouse production in favor of an emphasis on cancer research. However the alienation of the staff plagued Prehn's directorship as much as it had Green's. He added a now-major research program in molecular biology at great expense, and the financial strains placed on the laboratory combined with the tensions with the research staff led to his resignation in 1980. Subsequent directors have included Prehn's successor, Barbara H. Sanford, and Kenneth Paigen (1989-present). They currently (2003) conduct research in six major areas (bioinformatics, cancer, development and aging-related, immune system and blood disorders, metabolic diseases, and Neurological and Sensory Disorders), and are one of eight institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute as a cancer center.
From the guide to the Jackson Laboratory Oral History Collection, 1986, (American Philosophical Society)
|referencedIn||Anthony, Ethel,. Oral history interviews, 1980.||Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Maine Folklife Center|
|creatorOf||Jackson Laboratory Oral History Collection, 1986||American Philosophical Society|
|referencedIn||Marguerite Yourcenar additional papers, 1842-1996.||Houghton Library|
|referencedIn||Green, Earl Leroy. Papers 1937-1975.||Raymond H. Fogler Library|
|referencedIn||Dunn, L. C. (Leslie Clarence), 1893-1974. Reminiscences of Leslie Clarence Dunn : oral history, 1960.||Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries|
|referencedIn||Mehrtens, Susan E., 1945-,. Jackson Laboratory oral history collection, 1986.||American Philosophical Society Library|
|referencedIn||William B. Provine collection of evolutionary biology reprints, 20th century.||Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.|
|referencedIn||Hand, Learned, 1872-1961. Papers, 1840-1961||Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138|
|associatedWith||Abbott, William and Mary||person|
|associatedWith||Bunker, Helen and Lester||person|
|associatedWith||Champlin, Arthur Kingsley, 1938-||person|
|associatedWith||Crow, James F. (James Franklin), 1916-||person|
|associatedWith||Dunn, L. C. (Leslie Clarence), 1893-1974.||person|
|associatedWith||Glass, Bentley, 1906-2005||person|
|associatedWith||Green, Earl Leroy.||person|
|associatedWith||Hand, Learned, 1872-1961||person|
|associatedWith||Little, Clarence C., (Clarence Cook), b. 1888||person|
|associatedWith||Little, Robert and Ann||person|
|associatedWith||McKusick, Victor A., (Victor Almon), 1921-2008||person|
|associatedWith||Mehrtens, Susan E., 1945-,||person|
|associatedWith||Neilson, Harry, Jr.||person|
|correspondedWith||Provine, William B.||person|
|associatedWith||Russell, Elizabeth Shull, 1913-||person|
|associatedWith||Sanford, Barbara H.||person|
|associatedWith||Scott, John Paul||person|
|associatedWith||Snell, George D., (George Davis), 1903-1996||person|
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|Women in science|