Pierson Van Alten

Pierson Van Alten

Title: Immunologist and Educator
Company: University of Illinois
Location: Elmhurst, Illinois, United States

Pierson Van Alten, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in the fields of science and education.

An esteemed educator who has made invaluable contributions to the field of science, Dr. Van Alten celebrates decades of hard work. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Calvin College in 1950 and a Master of Science in 1955 as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in 1950, both from Michigan State University. During his time as a doctoral student, he practiced immunological techniques, becoming fascinated with immunology and developmental biology. He worked with the US Army Medical Research Laboratory in Fort Knox, KY, from 1951 to 1958 and taught briefly as a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, working with Dr. Robert Good as a full-fledged immunologist.

Dr. Van Alten shares his knowledge of immunology with generations of students who have been eager to learn from him. He has taught at the University of Illinois since 1973 and has been a professor emeritus of the institution since 1993. Having been affiliated with the university for nearly 60 years, he has worked as an associate professor from 1965 to 1973 and an assistant professor of anatomy from 1960 to 1965. Prior to these responsibilities, Dr. Van Alten has been a research fellow for the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1958 to 1960. Additionally, he has been a visiting professor at the University of Bern, Switzerland, from 1973 to 1974. Dr. Van Alten’s renowned dedication to immunology earned him a coveted fellowship with the American Cancer Society of New York City from 1973 to 1974.

Excited to explore his capabilities, Dr. Van Alten discovered that chickens could react immunologically prior to hatching. He has developed methods to bursectomize and thymectomize chickens as embryos, considering his breakthrough of operating on the chickens before they have hatched to be the highlight of his career. In recognition of his success, Dr. Van Alten has been recognized by numerous organizations. He has received grants from the National Cancer Institute of Bethesda, MD, from 1976 to 1982, the John A. Hartford Foundation of New York City from 1973 to 1976 and the National Institutes of Health from 1968 to 1971. Furthermore, Dr. Van Alten has been a grantee of United Cerebral Palsy in New York City from 1965 to 1968 and the National Science Foundation from 1961 to 1966.

Bettering any organization with which he has been affiliated, Dr. Van Alten is a member of numerous organizations. He holds membership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Transplantation Society, the American Association of Anatomists and the American Societies of Experimental Biology. Additionally, Dr. Van Alten has been a member of the board for Calvin College from 1989 to 1992, treasurer of the Reticuliendothelial Society from 1979 to 1980 and a representative of the life sciences research office of the American Society of Immunologists from 1975 to 1981. He has shared his vast knowledge with others, contributing numerous articles to professional journals as well as chapters to scientific books. In recognition of his success, Dr. Van Alten has been presented The Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and has been featured in Who’s Who in the Midwest.

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Lifetime Achievement

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