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William Henry Sebrell, Jr., M.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health, October 1, 1950 - July 31, 1955
A leading international authority on nutrition, Dr. William H. Sebrell first recognized and described the dietary deficiency disease, ariboflavinosis, and made significant contributions to knowledge of dietary needs and deficiencies.
Dr. Sebrell received his M.D. degree from the University of Virginia and joined PHS in 1926.
He began his research career under Dr. Joseph Goldberger who demonstrated that pellagra is a deficiency disease. During the 1930's, Dr. Sebrell made many important contributions to our knowledge of the anemias and the role of diet in cirrhosis of the liver.
During World War II, Dr. Sebrell was codirector of the National Nutrition Program which coordinated activities of all state agencies working in the field of nutrition. This program aided food production and the maintenance of civilian health during the war years.
In 1948 he became director of the Experimental Biology and Medicine Institute, and on October 1, 1950, was appointed director of NIH. He held this post until his retirement on July 31, 1955.
Dr. Sebrell helped formulate the first international standards of nutrition for the League of Nations, and pioneered the growing acceptance of scientific nutrition as a regular function of modern state and local health departments.
This page last reviewed on August 6, 2015