Original Repository: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Oswald T. Avery Papers
Reproduced with permission of the American Public Health Association.
The Lasker Award for Medical Research (1947)
With unusual persistence, remarkable insight and extraordinary accuracy of observation, Oswald T. Avery has devoted the greater
part of his scientific career to the study of the pneumococcus.
Animated by an unsurpassed intellectual curiosity and a desire to conquer one of the most deadly enemies of man, he undertook
to elucidate in logical sequence the biological activities, the immunological characteristics and the pathogenic properties
of the pneumococcus. In this he so far succeeded that today it is fair to say that more is known about this organism than
about any other human parasite.
Were this all it would be a unique accomplishment, but quite early in the course of his investigations he became interested
in searching for a chemical explanation for the type specificity of pneumococci. As a consequence, he discovered and identified
the capsular polysaccharides and demonstrated their role in determining the specificity.
He furthermore succeeded in throwing light on the immunological relationships of the intracellular constituents