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Alumni Feature 1

Bernice Eddy Wooley, Class of 1924


Bernice Wooley

Born into a family of physicians in Glendale, West Virginia, Bernice Eddy Wooley graduated from Marietta College in 1924 with a degree in bacteriology. She studied immunology on a fellowship at the University of Cincinnati, receiving her Ph.D. in 1927, and was awarded a teaching fellowship in bacteriology in 1929.

In 1937, Dr. Eddy joined the National Institutes of Health where she became nationally prominent in virus research and made several significant discoveries. She played a key role in testing the inactivated poliovirus vaccine for safety, and along with a collaborator discovered the polyoma virus. One of the early known cancer-causing viruses, it was later named the SE (Stewart-Eddy) Polyoma Virus in their honor. It was the work of Dr. Eddy and others that led to safe polio vaccines through thorough testing, and provided a major impetus for further research on cancer viruses. While her work was sometimes controversial, she maintained the courage to stand by her discoveries.

Dr. Eddy received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Marietta College in 1955, and the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare awarded her a Superior Service Medal in 1967.