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History of Wadsworth Center

The Wadsworth Center evolved from the state's Antitoxin Laboratory, established in 1901 to standardize and manufacture antitoxin, the prevailing treatment for communicable diseases such as diphtheria and anthrax. In 1914, the organization was designated the Division of Laboratories and Research, and Augustus B. Wadsworth was named director.

Dr. Wadsworth, who remained director until 1945, set a precedent for excellence in all matters scientific. He also urged his staff to pursue original investigations, thus captivating their curiosity and capitalizing on their intellectual assets. Dr. Wadsworth understood that research, public health testing and science education were complementary, creating a synergy that continues to inform the vibrant scientific community that now bears his name.

Science in the Pursuit of Health - History of Wadsworth Center

Landmark Achievements

  • Development of the first system of standardized laboratory analysis for the diagnosis of human disease
  • Identification and isolation of cardiolipin, the first chemically defined antigen used in the standard test for syphilis
  • Discovery of Nystatin, the first safe and effective antifungal antibiotic
  • Isolation and characterization of Coxsackie virus
  • Discovery of mobile genetic elements (introns) in bacteria
  • Development of the use of vaccinia virus as a vector to express selected pathogenic genes and as a therapeutic vector
  • Development of a novel single-particle approach to analyzing the structure of complex biomolecules using electron microscopy and computer processing
  • Development of a brain-computer interface system that uses electrical signals from the brain to communicate and control devices

The Early Years...