About this Collection

Salvador Edward Luria (1912-1991) was an Italian-born bacteriologist whose pioneering work on bacterial viruses (bacteriophage) with Max Delbrück demonstrated that bacterial resistance to phage infection occurred through genetic mutation, and that bacteria were suitable subjects for genetics research. He was a founding member of the informal "phage group" of early molecular biologists working on problems of gene structure and function. His subsequent work included discovering the phenomenon of bacterial restriction and modification of phage DNA by means of enzymes, and elucidating the mechanisms by which certain proteins operate within bacterial cell membranes. Later, Luria was the first director of the MIT Center for Cancer Research. He was also well-known for his political activism, especially in protesting the Vietnam War. Luria shared the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Max Delbrück and Alfred Hershey, for their "discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses."

The American Philosophical Society is the repository for the Salvador E. Luria Papers, which range from 1923 to 1992. The collection contains correspondence, published and unpublished articles and monographs, photographs, lectures, speeches, and laboratory notebooks.

As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has made available online, in collaboration with the American Philosophical Society, a digitized selection of the Salvador Luria Papers. This website provides access to the portions of the Salvador Luria Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research using the full collection of Salvador Luria Papers should contact the American Philosophical Society.

This Profile is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Luria's scientific career and professional life. Narrative sections available from the navigation bar under "The Story" focus on Luria's life and major scientific contributions.

Researchers can search the digitized items using the Search box or browse all Documents and Visuals in the collection by selecting "Collection Items" from the navigation bar.