Original Repository: Oregon State University. Library. Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers. Oregon State University Library.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Research Support as Topic
The Molecular Basis of Disease
Letter from Linus Pauling to E. C. Kleiderer (March 23, 1950)
March 8, 1950
Dear Dr. Kleiderer:
I am writing to ask if you would communicate to Mr. Lilly the accompanying plan for the foundation of a Laboratory of Medical
Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.
I myself am very enthusiastic about the possibilities for progress through basic research in medicine -- research of such
a nature that it can only be carried on effectively by workers in a leading school in the basic sciences. I feel sure that
significant progress in attacking disease can be made by bringing medical research into more intimate contact with the most
advanced outposts in basic science, and that the only way in which this can be done is to have medical research become an
intrinsic part of the activities in laboratories in which basic science is being advanced.
Our immediate proposal is that we construct a Laboratory of Medical Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, which
would be completely integrated with the Gates and Crallin Laboratories of Chemistry, and essentially also with the Korotkoff
Laboratory of Biology. We do not plan to have a separate staff in the Laboratory of Medical Chemistry; instead, the work
in this laboratory would be carried on by the members of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and would be
under the administrative supervision of the Chairman of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Part of our plan
is to make available to young M.D.'s who are planning to go into a career of medical research opportunities for training
in the basic sciences and for instruction in new techniques that might be useful in medical research. At the present time
we have a half dozen young M.D.'s working along these lines in our chemistry laboratories, and we hope to increase this
number significantly, so that in a few years there would be twelve or fifteen young men with M.D. degrees working in the Laboratory
of Medical Chemistry, in collaboration with members of our staff, and obtaining in this way a sound knowledge of basic science,
including its recent developments, and an acquaintance with the most modern techniques.
We have discussed this plan with a representative of some of the foundations, and it seems clear that it will be possible
to obtain financial support for the program. Our principal need at the present time is the building itself -- the Laboratory
of Medical Chemistry. On the accompanying proposal it is mentioned that this Laboratory of Medical Chemistry would cost approximately
$1,000,000. There is, I think, the possibility that a grant could be obtained from the National Health Institutes to be used
for construction for part of the building and for the provision of equipment. However, we must find a sum of approximately
$750,000 for construction of the building before progress can be made with the program as a whole.
I have been encouraged to write to you, and to ask if you would submit this plan to Mr. Lilly for consideration, by the news
that the Campbell Soup Company has made a grant of $1,000,000 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and that this
grant will be used for the construction of a building. I believe that the provision of a Laboratory of Medical Chemistry
at the California Institute of Technology will indeed lead to very significant progress in the attack on the problem of human
health and disease.
A description of our general program is given in the application that we made four years ago to the National Foundation for
Infantile Paralysis and the Rockefeller Foundation for grants in support of the program. The present plan, that of constructing
a Laboratory of Medical Chemistry and of extending our activities to include the training of young M.D.'s for careers
in medical research, is an outgrowth of the program described in 1946.