Oswald Avery at his desk, circa 1920
Courtesy of The Rockefeller Archive Center
When Rufus Cole added Oswald Avery (1877-1955) to his research team in 1913, his goal still was to find a cure for lobar pneumonia. But Avery's contributions over the next decades had even greater scientific significance. Avery's studies linking the chemical nature of pneumococcus to its virulence led to one of the most significant discoveries in biology: that DNA is the genetic material.