Profile of the Day: Edward Jenner

Posted May 17, 2024 by Amanda | No Comment

On this day in 1749, English physician and scientist Edward Jenner was born. Jenner is best remembered for pioneering the vaccine for smallpox.

Image: Edward Jenner / Library of Congress

Edward Anthony Jenner was born on May 17, 1749 in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England. His father was the vicar of Berkeley and believed firmly in a strong education.

A country doctor, Jenner was familiar with local folklore that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox, a mild disease, often never contracted smallpox. Intrigued, Jenner set out to test the theory. He tested his hypothesis on eight-year-old James Phipps, who he injected with a small amount of pus taken from a cowpox pustule. Several days later, Jenner exposed Phipps to smallpox and found him to be immune to the disease.

When Jenner published his groundbreaking work, he coined the word “vaccination” after the Latin word vacca, meaning “cow.” Dubbed the “father of immunology,” Jenner’s work is often said to have “saved more lives than the work of any other human.”

Explore his family tree to discover your connection to the pioneering doctor!

View Edward Jenner’s Geni Profile

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Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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