Ernest William Goodpasture

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Dr. Ernest William Goodpasture (October 17, 1886 - September 20, 1960), was an American pathologist and physician. Goodpasture advanced the scientific understanding of the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, parasitism, and a variety of rickettsial and viral infections. Together with colleagues at Vanderbilt, he invented methods for growing viruses and rickettsiae in chicken embryos and fertilized chicken eggs. This enabled the development of vaccines against chicken pox, smallpox, yellow fever typhus, Rocky mountain fever and other diseases. He also described Goodpasture's syndrome, which bears his name, despite the fact that the case that was described by Goodpasture was presented as a case of influenza and probably did not have anti-GBM disease.


Goodpasture was born October 17, 1886 near Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee, the son of Albert Virgil and Jennie Wilson Dawson Goodpasture. He died on September 20, 1960 in Nashville, Tennessee.

He received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University. In 1912, Goodpasture graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and received his doctorate. It was there, under professors William Welch and George H. Whipple, that he was appointed a Rockefeller Fellow in pathology; he held this position from 1912-1914. He held positions in pathology at Johns Hopkins until 1915. In 1915 he became part of the faculty of Harvard Medical School. In 1915 he also became the resident pathologist at the Penter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, and held the position until 1917. From 1917-1921 he was the assistant professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. During this period, he also served two years of wartime service in the United States Navy. This period was followed by appointments at the University of the Philippines School of Medicine in Manila. From 1922-1924 he was the director of William H. Singer Memorial Laboratories in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1924 he was invited to return to Vanderbilt as a professor, and chairman of the Department of Pathology (the School of Medicine having been recently reorganized). He accepted, and held the position until 1955.


  • Summerville, J. (2000). American National Biography Online. 
  • Collins, Robert D. (April 1, 2002). Ernest William Goodpasture: Scientist, Scholar, Gentleman. ISBN 1-57736-251-9. 

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