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Who was John J. Abel?

John AbelJohn Jacob Abel (1857 -1938) received his PhD in physiology from Johns Hopkins University and studied in Germany under Carl Ludwig and Oswald Schmiedeberg. He returned to the United States in 1891 to become Chair of the Department of Materia Medica at the University of Michigan. At Michigan Abel transformed the Department of Materia Medica into a department of pharmacology, the first in the country. In 1893, Johns Hopkins University was opening a new medical school and recruited John J. Abel to be their first professor of pharmacology. John J. Abel and eighteen of his colleagues founded the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics on December 28, 1908.

Abel was the first to isolate a blood pressure raising substance from bovine adrenal glands (1897) which substance he called "epinephrin." At the age of 68, he became the first person to crystallize insulin (1925).  Thus, John J. Abel can be considered the Father of Pharmacology in the U.S. as well as the founder of ASPET and the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (JPET).

What's an Abel Number?

In celebration of ASPET’s centennial in 2008, ASPET member David Bylund created the Abel Number.  Here’s how it works:

  • If you were John Jacob Abel, your Abel number would be 0.
  • If you published with J. J. Abel, your Abel number would be 1.
  • If you published with someone who published with J. J. Abel, your Abel number would be 2.
  • And so on.

An Abel number is sort of a family tree showing your pharmacological geneology. However, it also shows the impact that you can have on a scientific discipline and on future generations of scientists. John J. Abel published fewer than 100 papers in his career and only published with 27 different individuals. Yet, those people published with more that 330 individuals and those 330 published with over 4000 individuals. So as you can see it doesn't take long for your scientific legacy to spread far and wide.

List of Abel Numbers

We have Abel numbers for over 8458 individuals as of 5/31/2019. You can search our list by Abel Number or alphabetically by last name. If your name is not on the list and you recognize the name of someone you have published with, please send that reference to David Bylund so it can be included in our database and when this table is updated online, your name and Abel number will be there!

What is an Abel Number Button?

Buttons displaying Abel Numbers were given out to ASPET members participating in this project in 2008.

Abel Number Pin

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