Emil Gotschlich, whose development of the first polysaccharide vaccine to prevent meningitis was honored with a 1978 Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, has passed away at the age of 88. In the mid-1960s, when Gotschlich was a young professor and researcher at Rockefeller University, he received a draft notice. Gotschlich’s summons to military service coincided with an outbreak of meningitis amongst Army recruits, and the newly-minted Captain Gotschlich began searching for a vaccine to prevent the disease. He isolated and purified an antigen that generated antibodies against meningitis A and C, which halted the spread of the strain of meningitis C that was then sweeping the ranks of soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Gotschlich’s research became the foundation of subsequent efforts to develop vaccines against other strains of meningitis (such as the now-prevalent meningitis B), which has benefitted millions of people worldwide.