Research Landmarks

Translational research, applying basic discoveries and translating them into therapeutics and diagnostics that directly impact patient care, is key driving forces at the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC). Georgetown researchers have made significant contributions to the advancement of science and healthcare.

artificial heart valve

Artificial Heart Valve


Artificial Heart Valve, developed by Charles Hufnagel, MD, professor of experimental surgery, who performed the first artificial valve implantation surgery the following year.

Margaret Dayhoff

Single-Letter Code for Amino Acids

1950s – 1960s

Single-Letter Code for Amino Acids is one of the most widely used codes in biology and the field of bioinformatics. The discipline was pioneered at GUMC by Margaret Dayhoff, PhD, Department of Physiology & Biophysics.

Alfred Luessenhop

Predecessor of Intravascular Surgery


The Predecessor of Intravascular Surgery; a technique which used a plastic pellet to reduce the potentially fatal flow of blood from an enlarged artery was developed by Alfred Luessenhop, MD, former chief of neurosurgery, and William Spence, MD, a neurosurgeon at Georgetown.

Robert Ledley Full Body Scanner

Full-Body Scanner


The Full-Body Scanner, the first computer assisted tomography (CAT) scanner for any part of the body, developed by Robert Ledley, DDS, in 1973, had a revolutionary impact on diagnostic medicine.

Robert Ledley Automatic Genetic Analyzer

Automatic Genetic Analyzer


The Automatic Genetic Analyzer, also developed by Robert Ledley, DDS, used a robot arm to automate the process of detecting genetic defects on a molecular level.

3D protein molecule

Protein Information Resource


The Protein Information Resource, developed by Margaret Dayhoff, PhD, is the first and one of only three global banks for genetic and protein sequences and structures.

Fexofendaine molecule

Allegra ®


Allegra ®, the popular anti-histamine, was developed at Georgetown by Raymond Woosley, MD, PhD, former chairman of the Department of Pharmacology.

Richard Verrier and Bruce Nearing

T-Wave Alternans Test


T-Wave Alternans Test, a dynamic, non-invasive method to track and diagnose T- wave alternans, which are periodic variations between heartbeats that can put a patient at risk for fatal arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death, invented by Richard Verrier, PhD, former professor of pharmacology, and his colleague, Bruce Nearing, PhD.

Wayne Lancaster

First Diagnostic Test for HPV


The First Diagnostic Test for HPV, which when administered during a routine Pap test significantly increases the detection rate for cervical cancer and therefore lowers death rates from this invasive disease, was developed by Wayne Lancaster, PhD, and Alfred Bennett Jensen, MD.

Richard Schlegel, Shin-je Ghim, Alfred Bennett Jensen


1990s – 2000s

Gardisil, the 1st HPV Vaccine, was developed by Richard Schlegel, MD, PhD, along with Shin-je Ghim, PhD, and Alfred Bennett Jensen, MD, at Georgetown and protects against the two strains of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancers, and shows promise in protection against three other cancer-causing strains.

Richard Schlegel

Cellular Programming

2000 – 2010s

Cellular Programming, developed by Richard Schlegel, MD, PhD, is an innovative technology dubbed the “Georgetown Method,” allows scientists to grow normal and neoplastic epithelial cells in a completely new way.