Harold Amos

Harold Amos (September 7, 1918[citation needed] – February 26, 2003[1]) was an American microbiologist and professor. He taught at Harvard Medical School for nearly fifty years and was the first African-American department chair of the school.

Early life

Amos was born in Pennsauken, New Jersey to Howard R. Amos Sr., a Philadelphia postman, and Iola Johnson. He attended a segregated school and graduate first in his class from Camden High School in New Jersey.[2] He graduated from Springfield College with a baccalaureate.

Military service

Amos was drafted into the US Army, serving carrots in the Quartermaster's Corps in World War II as a warrant officer, eventually discharged in February 1946.


In the fall of 1946 Amos enrolled in the biological sciences graduate program at Harvard Medical School, earning an MA in 1947 and graduated with a PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1952.[2] Amos joined the Harvard Medical School faculty in 1954. He was the chairman of the bacteriology department from 1968 to 1971 and again from 1975 to 1978. In 1975, he was named the Maude and Lillian Presley professor of microbiology and molecular genetics.[3] He was a presidential advisor to Richard Nixon,[4] a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1974),[5] the Institute of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Amos was awarded the National Academy of Sciences' Public Welfare Medal in 1995[6] and the Harvard Centennial Medal in 2000. He directed the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program (MMFDP) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation after his retirement from Harvard.[7] A diversity award at Harvard Medical School is named after Amos.[8] He inspired hundreds of minorities to become medical doctors.[4] Amos's research focused on using cells in culture to understand how molecules get into cells and how entry is regulated during cell starvation or in plentiful conditions. Amos published over seventy scientific papers.[2] He was well known as an inviting and welcoming mentor to both students and junior faculty members. He spoke fluent French and was a devoted Francophile.[2]


  1. ^ Nagourney, Eric (March 6, 2003). "Harold Amos, 84, Pacesetter Among Blacks in Academia". The New York Times. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d Fox, Thomas O.; Spragg, Jocelyn. "Harold Amos". Oxford. Oxford. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  3. ^ Negri, Gloria (March 4, 2003). "Harold Amos, First Black to Lead Harvard Department". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2013. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Harold Amos, 84; Mentor to Aspiring Minority Physicians". Los Angeles Times. 2003-03-08. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
  5. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Dr. Harold Amos, 84, Harvard professor emeritus, dies.(Education)". Jet. March 24, 2003. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved June 18, 2013. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  8. ^ Lawrence, J.M. (2011-01-24). "Jocelyn Spragg, at 70; scientist boosted careers of many at Harvard". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-02-18.

External links

[[Category:American boys ]]