September 22, 1916–April 5, 2004
BY SALAH AL-ASKARI
HENRY SHERWOOD LAWRENCE WAS A distinguished physician, a master teacher, and a pioneer in research on cell-mediated immunity. At a time when scientists focused on the more popular study of humeral immunity and the nature of immunoglobulins in experimental animals, Lawrence emphasized the role of cellular immunity in human responses to disease and antigenic agents. Utilizing man as his study model he discovered that lymphocytes from sensitive individuals produce an active product, “transfer factor,” that played a major role in cellular immunity. He was a highly regarded clinician with a special expertise in infectious diseases, and a dedicated teacher and role model for students, residents, fellows, and young physicians.
Lawrence, known to his friends and colleagues as either Sherwood or Jerry, was born on September 22, 1916, in Astoria, New York. His father, Victor John Lawrence, was a Pennsylvania Railroad man and his mother, Agnes Whalen, was a homemaker.
Lawrence attended Public School 6 in Astoria and Townsend Harris High School and then transferred to the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York City, where he became interested in biology. On the advice of his biology teacher he enrolled in New York University at “the Heights.”