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Election Year: 1981
Scientific Discipline: Immunology and Inflammation
Membership Type: Member
Michael Potter, the renowned immunobiologist, studied antibody structure and function, as well as the causes and progression of plasma cell cancers in the blood. His research laid a crucial foundation for the production of monoclonal antibodies, which today are a cornerstone of medical research and clinical diagnosis.
Potter earned his undergraduate degree at Princeton University in 1945 and finished his medical degree at the University of Virginia in 1949. Following military service, he returned to the University of Virginia as a research assistant. He joined the National Cancer Institute in 1954 and remained there for nearly sixty years, at various times serving as a section chief in the Laboratory of Cell Biology, then as a branch chief in the Laboratory of Genetics, and finally as a senior investigator, a position that he held until retirement. Potter also worked for several decades as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland.
In addition to his membership in the National Academy of Sciences, Potter received the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for outstanding contributions to medical research in 1983. The following year, he was a co-recipient of the Albert Lasker Basic Biomedical Medical Research Award.