James A. Shannon
1961 Mendel Medal Recipient



Dr. Shannon, widely recognized in the scientific world for his original research in kidney function, chemotherapy, and malaria, is Director of the National Institutes of Health, the major research division of the U.S. Public Health Service, at Bethesda, Maryland. As an Assistant Surgeon General, Dr. Shannon carries a special responsibility for the formulation of broad national research policies and the coordination of the various research activities of the Public Health Service.

Dr. Shannon's career has been devoted to medical research, teaching, and public health service. Born in Hollis, New York, in 1904, Dr. Shannon graduated from Holy Cross in 1925, received his medical degree from N.Y.U. in 1929, and his Ph.D. in physiology from N.Y.U. in 1935. In 1931, he entered medical teaching at N.Y.U. and in 1942 , he became Director of Research Service at Goldwater Memorial Hospital, a medical division of New York University. He has served as guest investigator in physiology at Cambrdge University, and as a member of the staff of the Marine Biological Laboratory at the Woods hole, Massachusetts. From 1946 to 1949, he was Director of the Squibb Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Shannon has been associated with the U.S. Public Health Service since 1949, and in 1955 he received the post of Director of the National Institutes of Health at Bethesda.

During World War II, Dr. Shannon played a prominent part in malaria research activities of the National Research Council, and was a consultant on tropical diseases to the Secretary of War. In recognition of this work he received the Medal of Merit, one of the highest awards for civilian service in government.

In view of these accomplishments, Villanova Unviersity chose this truly deserving Catholic layman, scientist, and father as the recipient of the Mendel Medal award, given in memory of another great Catholic man of science.

The Mendel Medal Bulletin. Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania. XXVI: 42 (1962).





Shannon, James A., medical investigator, educator; born in Hollis, New York, August 9, 1904; son of James A. and Anna (Margison) Shannon; married Alice Waterhouse, June 24, 1933; children: Alice, James Anthony. A.B., Holy Cross College, Massachusetts, 1925, D.Sc. (hon), 1952; M.D., New York University, 1929, Ph.D., 1935, D.Sc.(hon), 1965; D.HG.L. (hon), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1962; LL.D. (hon), University of California, Berkeley, 1968, Yale University, 1968; D.Sc., Emory University, 1970, Harvard University, 1972; recipient over 25 other honorary degrees from U.S. fgn. institutions, 1952-1975. Intern Bellevue Hospital, New York City, 1929-1931; assistant department of physiology New York University College of Medicine, 1931-1932, instructor, 1932-1935, assistant professor, 1935-1940, assistant professor department of medicine, 1941, associate professor, 1941-1946; director of research service New York University medical division Goldwater Memorial Hospital, 1941-1946; director Squibb & Sons, Squibb Institute of Medical Research, 1946-1949; associate director in charge of research National Heart Institution, 1949-1952; associate director NIH, 1952-1955, director, 1955-1968; scholar-in-residence National Library of Medicine, 1975-1980; professor of biomedical sciences, special advisor to president Rockefeller University, New York City, 1970-1975; adj. professor Rockefeller University, 1975-1994; scholar in human biology Eleanor Roosevelt Institution for Cancer Research, 1977-1994; Consultant in tropical diseases to secretary of war, 1943-1946; special consultant to the surgeon general USPHS, 1946-1949, assistant surgeon general, 1952-1968; member of the Board for Coordination of Malarial Studies, chairman of clinical panel, 1942-1946; member of the subcommittee on shock NRC, 1952-1956; NRC executive committee, member-at-large, 1954-1955, USPHS representitive, 1955-1963; chairman of the panel on malaria Division of Medical Sciences, 1951-1956; member of the U.S. national committee International Union of Physiological Scientists, 1955-1962; member expert advanced panel on malaria WHO, 1955-1966; founding member advanced committee on medical research, 1959-1963; founding member advanced committee on medical research Pan American Health Organization, 1962-1966; consultant on medical affairs AID, 1963-1968; consultant President's Scientific Advancement Committee, 1959-1965; HEW representative and vice-chairman of the standing committee of the Federal Council on Science and Technology, 1960-1968; holder of numerous endowed lectureships, various universities and scientific associations, 1945-1994; member of the selection committee Rockefeller Public Service awards Princeton University 1969-1973; member award selection committees numerous organizations and foundations; member New York City Board of Health, 1970-1971; general advisor university support program in biomedical sciences R.J. Reynolds Industries Inc., 1978-1985. Contributor to articles to professional journals. Recipient of numerous honors and awards including: Presidential medal for merit, 1946; Mendel Medal Villanova University, 1961; Rockefeller Public Service award, 1964; Presidential Distinguishing Federal Civilian Service award, Markle Foundation,1966; 3rd Annual award Hadasash Myrtle Wreath, 1968; Rosenberger medal University of Chicago, 1968; John Phillips Memorial award A.C.P., 1969; Homer W. Smith award American Heart Association, 1969; National Medal of Science, 1974; award for distinguishing contributions Society of Research Administrators, 1975; Blue Cross/Blue Shield 50th Anniversary award for national health achievement, 1980; Award for distinguishing achievement University of Oregon, 1981; NIH Central Administration Building (Building 1) dedicated as James A. Shannon Building, 1983; Board of Trustees award Massachusetts General Hospital, 1986; The Fahray medal The Franklin Institute, 1986, Centennial award American Association of Anatomists, 1987. Fellow American Public Health Association, American Association of Hospital Administrators (hon); member American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, American Physiological Society, American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Royal Society of Physicians, London, Society of Exptl. Biology and Medicine, Harvey Society, Association of American Physicians, AAAS (Phillip Hauge Abelson prize 1986), National Academy of Sciences (Public Service award 1964, member board on medicine 1967-1970, academic council 1970-1973, executive committee 1970-1973, executive committee 1970-1973), Institute of Medicine (founding member 1970), National Academy of Public Administration, ADA (hon), American Hospital Association (hon), Sigma Xi, Alpha Omega Alpha. Club: Cosmos. Home: Lake Oswego Oregon. Died May 20, 1994.

Who Was Who in America. Volume XI, 1993-1996. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1996, p.250.