Name and location of repository
Level of description
Ernst Knobil, PhD papers
- 1942-2000 (Creation)
71 cubic feet (147 boxes)
Name of creator
Dr. Knobil was a leader and pioneer in many areas of endocrinology, including growth and reproduction. Kr. Knobil's classic contributions include the species-specific effects of Growth Hormone (GH), a model for positive and negative estrogen feedback control of the menstrual cycle, and elucidation of the hypothalamic Gonadotrpin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) pulse generator. His discovery that pulsatile GnRH stimulates Luteinizing Hormone (LH) secretion, altered the field of reproductive endocrinology. This observation also unmasked a pivotal role for pulsatile secretion as a mechanism of hormonal control. Dr. Knobil died April 13, 2000.
The son of an Austrian parents, Dr. Knobil was born in Berlin, Germany on September 20, 1926. The Knobil family moved to Paris in the early 1930's. When the Germans invaded Paris in 1940, the family emigrated to New York City where he attended high school.
At the age of 15, he entered the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell in 1942. He chose Animal Science as his major due to interests developed from time spent on farms in France during the summers, and from attending the Kinderhook Farm Camp after moving to the United States.
Upon graduating from Cornell in 1948 (including a 2 year interruption of service in the US Army), he entered graduate school in zoology where he worked in the laboratory of Professor Sanuel L. Leonard. After completing his PhD, Dr. Knobil accepted a post-doctoral position with Roy O. Greep at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine from 1951 to 1953. While a fellow, he assumed Greep's teaching duties in endocrinology and rapidly gained recognition as a gifted and scholarly teacher.
In 1953 he was appointed Instructor in the Physiology Department of the Harvard Medical School. In 1957, he was promoted to Assistant Professor after having been selected by Harvard Medical School for the prestigious Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine for the years 1956-1961.
From 1961-1981 he was the Richard Beatty Mellon Professor of Physiology, Chairman of the Department of Physiology and the Director of the Center for Research in Primate Reproduction at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School
Dr. Knobil accepted the Deanship of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston in 1981. From 1981 on he was the H. Wayne Hightower Professor in the Medical Sciences and Director of the Laboratory of the Laboratory for Neuroendocrinology at the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center - Medical School. The Laboratory closed in 1997. More than 80 fellows and students studied in his laboratories in Boston, Pittsburgh and Houston. In 1989 he was named an Ashbel Smith Professor, the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Among the many awards, Dr. Knobil received were the highest ones awarded by the Society for the Study of Reproduction (Carl G. Hartman Award, 1983), The Endocrine Society (Fred Conrad Koch Award, 1982), and the American Physiological Society (Walter B. Cannon Memorial Lecture, 1997). He was elected to numerous positions of leadership including the Presidencies of The Endocrine Society (1976), the American Physiological Society (1979), and the International Society of Endocrinology (1984-1988). He was a member of many U.S. and foreign scientific societies' review boards, NIH study sections, and the editorial broads of numerous scientific journals.
Dr. Knobil was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science (1986), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a foreign associate of the French Academy of Science, the Italian National Academy of Science, and the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine. He received several honorary degrees among them ones from the University of Bordeaux (1980), the Medical College of Wisconsin (1983), the University of Liege (1994), and the University of Milan (2000).
In addition to being the author of 217 scientific papears, he was the editor of several reference books in endocrinology and reproduction, including The Handbook of Physiology (1974), The Physiology of Reproduction (1988, 1994), and The Encyclopedia of Reproduction (1998).
Dr. Knobil died April 13, 2000 in Houston Texas. He was survived by his wife of 40 years, Dr. Julane Hotchkiss Knobil, three sons, one daughter and four grandchildren.
Adapted from the Endocrine Reviews 22(6): 721-723, 2001.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
The notebooks from Dr. Knobil's research laboratories comprise the largest series (X). General Files, Series IV, contains material including correspondence, lectures and speeches from the early 1980s to 2000. It was retained in the alphabetical order it was received. Material in Series II was labeled Harvard and deals primarily with Dr. Knobil's tenure at Harvard University in the 1950s. Material about his Deanship of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston can be found in Series III and IV.
System of arrangement
The papers are kept in the same series which they were kept by Dr. Knobil and donated to the Archive.
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Open for research.
Materials are in good condition.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright restrictions may apply.
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
The records are in, with some correspondence in.
Generated finding aid
Acquisition and appraisal elements
These papers were a gift from Dr. Ernst Knobil and Dr. Julane Hotchkiss Knobil.
Immediate source of acquisition
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
Accruals may occur for this collection.
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
- Citation: Ernst Knobil, PhD papers; MS 096; John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library. Please cite the box and folder numbers where appropriate.
- Processing information: The collection was refoldered into archival folders and boxes. Paperclips were removed, but staples, unless deteriorated, were retained. Curriculum vita of other people, reprints of other people's work, itineraries, agendas, and minutes were discarded unless Dr. Knobil held the meetings or commented directly on the items.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Finding aid encoded by MJ. Figard on November 19, 2007.
Place access points
Name access points
- Knobil, Julane Hotchkiss (Subject)
- Knobil, Ernst (Subject)
- University of Texas. School of Medicine (Subject)
- University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (Subject)