Rolla Dyer

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Rolla Dyer

Rolla Eugene Dyer (1886–1971) was an American physician born in Delaware County, Ohio. Dyer received his B.A. from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and his M.D. from the University of Texas. He joined the U.S. Public Health Service in 1916.

His first assignment involved fieldwork on bubonic plague in New Orleans. Five years later he joined the staff of the Hygienic Laboratory, became chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in 1936, and director of National Institutes of Health from 1942 until his retirement in 1950. An expert in infectious diseases, he demonstrated how endemic typhus is spread and is noted for developing a vaccine to protect against the disease.

As director of NIH, Dr. Dyer organized the Division of Research Grants, assisted in planning the Clinical Center, and helped establish three new institutes: the National Heart Institute, the National Institute of Dental Research, and National Institute of Mental Health. He also served as a member of the scientific board of directors of the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation and as director of research at Emory University until 1957.

His papers are held at the National Library of Medicine.[1]


  1. ^ "Rolla E. Dyer Papers 1929-1964". National Library of Medicine. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Lewis R. Thompson
Director of National Institute of Health
1942 – 1948
Succeeded by
Preceded by
position created
Director of National Institutes of Health
1948 – 1950
Succeeded by
William H. Sebrell, Jr.

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