top banner-skip navigation

HomePrevious PageNext Page

History Section
Science Section
Scientific Glossary
Biography Section
Special Spotlights

Biography Section

Axelrod | Berliner | Bowman | Brodie | Shannon | Udenfriend
image of molecule Dr. James Shannon (1904-1994)

Dr. James Shannon, leader of the Goldwater antimalarial research group, served as director of NIH from 1955-1968. Shannon, born in 1904, was educated in New York City and received his M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine in 1929. After serving his residency at Bellvue Hospital, Shannon returned to NYU to study for the Ph.D. in Physiology, which he earned in 1935. He spent the next fifteen years on the faculty of the NYU School of Medicine, where he studied the relatively new field of kidney physiology.

In 1941 Shannon took responsibility for directing the NYU Research Service at the new Goldwater Memorial Hospital at Welfare (now Roosevelt) Island in New York. However, his plans to study renal physiology there were interrupted by the government's call for research into antimalarial drugs. He assembled a group of doctors responsible for recommending an appropriate dosage of Atabrine. They also developed Chloroquine, the drug of choice to treat malaria for several subsequent decades. After the war, Shannon was named director of a pharmaceutical company before becoming an associate director in charge of research at the newly created National Heart Institute at NIH.

In 1955 Shannon was named director of NIH, a post he held for thirteen years. He oversaw a period of vastly increased construction, increased funding for research personnel and laboratories, and the creation of new research centers. Shannon brought money from Capitol Hill and new optimism to NIH, from which he retired at the mandatory age of sixty-four in 1968. Shannon then served in a variety of consultant and board positions with various universities, hospitals, and other institutions. To honor him for his many contributions to NIH, the central administration building (Building 1) was named for him in 1983.

Photograph of Dr. James Shannon
James Shannon


HomePrevious PageNext Page

The Office of NIH History
National Institutes of Health