William Trager devoted his 50-year career to studying parasites, the organisms that live in or off other beings. His achievements—deemed invaluable in the search for a malaria vaccine and drug treatments—have resulted in many advancements in testing drugs to combat the disease. At one point, malaria was responsible for up to 3 million deaths. The death toll has decreased by more than half thanks to Trager’s work, which demonstrates what parasites require of their hosts, their benefits to a host, their growth within the host, and how that growth can be arrested. After graduating from Rutgers with a bachelor’s degree in parasitology, he went on to earn a master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard. Trager has been “a mentor, adviser, and friend to numerous graduate students, colleagues, and visiting scientists from around the globe. As the first scientist to grow malaria parasites in continuous culture, there is little doubt that ultimately his accomplishment will help alleviate the sufferings of millions of people worldwide,” remembers Rutgers professor Robert Herman about working as a postdoctoral fellow in Trager’s laboratory at Rockefeller University in the 1960s. Trager died in 2005 at age 94.
Parasitologist, Malaria Expert
Rutgers College 1930
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of