Tag Archives: Louis Pasteur

The Royal Society of Medicine of London: A brief history

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, England   RSM, 1 Wimpole Street, London. Photo by Philafrenzy, 2017, on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. The origins of the Royal Society of Medicine in London can be traced back to 1805. It was in that year that a breakaway group of learned physicians and surgeons formed a new medical society, […]

Koch’s postulates revisited

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1722), a Dutch botanist, using his early microscope observed single-celled bacteria, which he reported to the Royal Society as animalcules. The science of bacteriology owes its origin to two scientists of coruscating originality, Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. Pasteur may be described as master-architect and Koch as master-builder […]

Gain of function

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   “It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.” – Enrico Fermi (1901–1954)   SARS-CoV-2 virus anatomy with proteins labeled. Created by Maya Peters Kostman for the Innovative Genomics Institute. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. “Gain of Function” (GoF) burst into […]

Infectious diseases in the Civil War

Lloyd Klein  San Francisco, California, United States   Dr. Louis Pasteur. Photo by Paul Nadar, 1878. Wellcome Collection. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 4.0. The main cause of death during the American Civil War was not battle injury but disease. About two-thirds of the 620,000 deaths of Civil War soldiers were caused by disease, including 63% […]

Plagues and prejudice

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Honolulu Chinatown fire of 1900. Hawaii State Archives.  It was a calm, clear January morning on the gritty streets of paradise. Honolulu, the capital of the newly-annexed U.S. territory of Hawaii, was ushering out a century of upheaval that had included the arrival of explorers, […]

David Bruce, discoverer of brucellosis

Sir David Bruce (1855–1931). Source: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. CC BY 2.0 Early life Every medical student would be expected to know something about brucellosis, though quite unlikely to ever see a case. He would have to know that the disease in man may be caused by the Brucella of goats, swine, […]

The door to recovery

Irene Metzner Glenn Youngkrantz Chicago, Illinois, United States   Stories about addiction are often filled with despair, but they don’t have to be: this is a true story in two parts. The first is the perspective of a patient, and the second that of his doctor, as they chose to be hopeful.   Part I The Two Doorways. James McNeill Whistler. 1879/80. Art […]

Tales from the crypt: The mosaic symbolism of Louis Pasteur’s tomb

Abigail Cline Augusta, Georgia, United States   Louis Pasteur’s tomb at the Pasteur Institute Hidden behind the Montparnasse Railway Station is the elegant brick and stone building of the Pasteur Institute. Since its opening in 1887, the Pasteur Institute has been on the front line in the battle against infectious disease. Consisting of research departments […]

The early days of the Nobel Prize and Golden Age of Microbiology

Juan–Carlos Argüelles Murcia, Spain   Introduction According to Alfred Nobel’s (1833–1896) last will and testament, signed on November 27, 1895, the largest share of his fortune would be dedicated to a series of awards bestowed on those people who deserved great merit for their intensive work in favor of mankind. That year the Nobel Prize […]

Serendipity: Is it mere lucky coincidence?

Isuri Wimalasiri Ratmalana, Sri Lanka   View of Sri Lanka from Ptolemy’s world map of Ceylong Many Sri Lankans may not be aware that the origins of the term “serendipity” are linked to their country. The word was coined by English writer Horace Walpole, who wrote a letter to a friend about a folk story […]