Ernest W. Goodpasture, M.D.

Profile photo of Ernest Goodpasture

Born in 1886 near Clarksville, Ernest Goodpasture was a Tennessee native and 1907 graduate of Vanderbilt University. After obtaining his B.A., Dr. Goodpasture attended Johns Hopkins Medical School and served as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical Schools. In 1924, he was invited to join the new Vanderbilt Medical School as the Department of Pathology’s first Chairman. He spent the majority of his career in Tennessee at Vanderbilt before taking the position of Scientific Director of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in 1955.

While at Vanderbilt Medial School, Dr. Goodpasture served as Associate Dean and Dean, but his passions were research and teaching. His scientific accomplishments led to his recognition as one of the world’s foremost pathologists. His interest in infectious agents and viruses led to the development of the chick embryo technique used for the cultivation and study of a number of viruses. This work provided the foundation for the successful development and improvement of vaccines against yellow fever, typhus and influenza, saving thousands of lives.

In recognition of his scientific work, Dr. Goodpasture received honorary degrees from Yale, the University of Chicago and Washington University. He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, among others. He was awarded the Association of American Physicians’ Kober Award, the American Public Health Association’s Sedgwick Medal, the Association of Pathologists’ Gold Headed Cane and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

Though presented with offers from other prestigious medical schools across the country, Dr. Goodpasture chose to stay in Tennessee and devoted his career and life to research and the education of hundreds of medical students at Vanderbilt University.

A decorated pathologist, passionate educator and dedicated public servant, Dr. Ernest Goodpasture is an inaugural inductee of the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame.

Ernest Goodpasture sitting back looking the camera
Ernest Goodpasture working with a microscope