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.
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.
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.