Ernest Everett Just
Born in 1883 in Charleston, South Carolina, Ernest Everett Just was a professor in the Department of Zoology at Howard University when Lillie invited him to come to the MBL as his research assistant in 1909. Just returned to the MBL nearly every summer for over 20 years, during which time he received his Ph.D. on the mechanics of fertilization under Lillie from the University of Chicago. In 1930, Just became the first American to be invited to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. Just was among the first African Americans to receive a doctoral degree at a major university. Despite many outstanding achievements as a student and biologist, Just was unable to obtain an academic appointment that would enable him to take advantage of his skills as a scientist. Eventually, he moved to Europe, returning to the United States when World War II broke out and dying prematurely in 1941. Just’s magnum opus was entitled The Biology of the Cell Surface, which critiqued the focus among cell biologists on the nucleus.