Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Harry Steenbock

Collage of images of Harry Steenbock and an ad for Irradiated Vitamin D Milk

In the early 1920s, biochemistry professor Harry Steenbock discovered that irradiating foods with ultraviolet light increased the vitamin D content. He knew his breakthrough had the potential to eradicate rickets, a crippling bone disease of children caused by vitamin D deficiency. Rather than sell his discovery for personal profit, Steenbock approached the university with the idea for a patent management organization to support campus inventors. His vision would evolve into the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in 1925.