Last year the Bodleian received over one hundred glass lantern slides, prepared by R.R. Porter to illustrate his work on the structure and nature of antibody molecules. Porter discovered the 4-chain structure of antibody molecules in 1962 when he was Professor of Immunology at the Wright-Fleming Institute at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for this discovery in 1972 with Geoffrey Edelman who had proved that antibodies were multi-chain proteins. This ‘extremely important breakthrough in immunochemistry’ led to a greater understanding of the immune system. Porter spent the later part of his career at Oxford where he was the Whitley Professor of Biochemistry from 1967 until his death in 1985.
With the help of Dr. Myer Salaman of the Department of Immunology at St Mary’s Campus of the Imperial College School of Medicine, each slide has been carefully described and the full list is available via the Bodleian’s online catalogues.