Dr. Joseph Goldberger discovered of the cause of pellagra, a disease that killed many poor Southerners in the early part of the 20th century. His finding, that pellagra was caused by a diet deficient in vitamin B, was meant by politicial and social resistance.
Martin Rodbell and his colleagues discovered a mechanism that transformed our understanding of how cells respond to signals. In a series of pioneering experiments conducted at the NIH, Rodbell studied hormones--substances which have specific effects on cells' activity. He won the 1994 Nobel Prize for this work.
In the 1950s, the NIH's Dr. Robert Bowman developed a sensitive instrument called the spectrophotofluorometer, or “SPF”, that allowed scientists to use fluorescence as a way to identify and measure tiny amounts of substances in the body. This exhibit explores the instrument and its use in scientific studies ranging from anti-depressant medication to AIDS research and the Human Genome Project.