Keith R. Porter and the first electron micrograph of a cell

Peter Satir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Keith R. Porter died on 2 May 1997. Although he was especially renowned for the work on cell structure recounted here, his impact on cell biology was not confined to the early electron-microscopic studies of ultrastructure. To many, he was the father of cell biology, who helped establish many of the enduring institutions and ideas in the field. He had great biological intuition and feeling for a wide range of organisms and was greatly concerned with problems of cell shape and movement. He used ultrastructure and simple physiological or biochemical experiments to infer functional activities for cell organelles, including not only the endoplasmic reticulum, which he named, but the sarcoplasmic reticulum and T-tubules of muscle cells, microtubules, cilia, coated vesicles and more. He also pioneered cell studies with the high-voltage electron microscope, which led him to the idea of structural integration in the cell cytoplasm, an idea that is only now being pursued with success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-171
Number of pages3
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Keith R. Porter and the first electron micrograph of a cell'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this