Image of a cell

Paul A. Weiss

  • National Medal of Science
  • Biological Sciences

For outstanding contributions to cell biology and understanding of the development of the nervous system including the basis for surgical repair of injury to peripheral nerves.

Paul Weiss was one of the world’s leading authorities in cellular biology. Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1898, Weiss enjoyed a lengthy career that included breakthrough research in the theory of cellular development. Weiss also was a prolific author and a popular teacher and mentor to students.

Weiss, who earned a doctorate in biology from the University of Vienna in 1931, is noted for his ground-breaking research in establishing the principle of cellular self-organization, the process in which cells reassembled from different organs become miniatures of the donor organs.

After receiving his doctorate, Weiss joined the Austrian Academy of Sciences as a researcher and came to United States in 1931 to join Yale University as a Sterling Fellow. He also had long teaching and research stints at the University of Chicago and the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, where he headed up a lab that studied wound healing wounds and developing new surgical techniques to repair peripheral nerve tissue.

Active in the scientific community, Weiss stressed the need for scientists who specialized in different fields to work with each other to exchange ideas.

By Robert Warren