Joseph Beard instructing students or residents in the canine surgery teaching laboratory

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Item Description

  • Joseph Beard with students during an experimental operation. Beard joined the Duke University faculty, serving from 1937 to 1973. He became the James B. Duke professor of surgery in 1946 and was appointed professor of virology in 1965. He received the Borden Award for outstanding research in medicine, presented annually by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Beard used canines in surgical research for the purpose of developing vaccines. In 1938, one year after coming to Duke University, Dr. Beard's group developed the first usable vaccine for equine encephalomyelitis, a disease that then struck down thousands of horses. This development was due in part to the generous funding of Lederle Laboratories, owned by William Brown Bell, a Duke Endowment Trustee and President of American Cyanamid Company. Bell's support allowed Duke scientists to progress rapidly in successfully developing the vaccine and subsequently becoming national leaders in vaccine and immunization. In the 1940s, Beard purified and photographed the virus which causes warts and skin cancer in rabbits. In 1950, Beard received a grant from the American Cancer Society to research and isolate the cause of avian leukosis, a cancer-like disease that cost the poultry industry millions of dollars each year. In subsequent research, Dr. Beard isolated and identified cancer viruses that cause leukemia in chickens, and he and his associates were one of the two groups to first report tangible evidence of viruses in association with human leukemia.
Date created
  • cln00006
Resource type
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Archival collection
  • Photograph & Negative Collection
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