Bacteriology

Bacteriology: timeline of key events

Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist who is best known for inventing a sterilisation method for slowing down the development of microbes in milk and wine, a process now called pasteurisation. He also made significant breakthroughs in understanding the causes and prevention of bacterial diseases. His work was instrumental in helping to reduce the mortality rate from puerperal fever, a major cause of death for women in childbirth in the 19th century. Pasteur also pioneered the first rabies vaccine.1822-12-27T00:00:00+0000Koch was a major pioneer of modern bacteriology and won the 1905 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his groundbreaking work on tuberculosis. 1843-12-11T00:00:00+0000Petri was a microbiologist who is credited with inventing the petri dish, a shallow glass cylinder used to culture cells and bacteria. This he developed in the late 1870s while working as an assistant to Robert Koch. Petri developed the dish to help culture bacteria on agar plates. He subsequently developed the technique of agar culture to clone bacterial colonies derived from single cells. His work helped improve the process of identifying bacteria responsible for disease. 1852-05-31T00:00:00+0000Gram was a bacteriologist who developed a method to quickly identify two different large groups of bacteria. His method is now routinely used for histology and microbiology. Bacteria that absorb the stain which turn purple are known as Gram positive bacteria, and those that do not absorb the stain, which might be coloured pink with a counterstain, are labelled Gram negative. 1853-09-13T00:00:00+0000Ehrlich played a significant role in the development of the first serum therapy to combat diphtheria in the 1890s and devised methods for standardising therapeutic serums. In addition he invented staining techniques for distinguishing different types of blood cells which laid the foundation for diagnosing blood disorders. In 1900 he popularised the 'magic bullet' concept which promoted the idea of developing a drug capable of killing specific disease-causing microbes, like bacteria, without harming the body itself. Nine years later he succeeded in creating Salvasan, the first drug created to target a specific pathogen and the first effective medical treatment for syphilis. Ehrlich also coined the term 'antibody' and transformed understandings of how the immune system worked. In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the back of this work. Despite his groundbreaking research, Ehrlich struggled to get a permanent position because of his Jewish background. 1854-03-14T00:00:00+0000Together with Daniel E Salmon, Smith provided the first proof that killed bacteria could be used to induce immunity in experimental animals, in 1886. This laid the foundation for the subsequent development of protective immunisation in humans against bacterial diseases like typhoid and cholera. Smith also pioneered the use of the fermentation tube to study bacterial physiology and classification. Using this technique he managed to identify the causes of several infectious parasitic diseases, including Texas Cattle Fever caused by ticks. His delineation of the tick's life-cycle paved the way to controlling the disease by dipping cattle to kill the ticks. Smith's revelation that insects could transmit disease was a major breakthrough and laid the foundation for the investigation of yellow fever and malaria. Smith established the first department of bacteriology at a medical school in the United States - at Columbian University (now George Washington University). 1859-07-31T00:00:00+0000Schaudinn was a zoologist and microbiologist, best known for helping to discover the bacterial cause of syphilis, in 1905. Prior to this research Schaudinn identified the unicellular parasite Entamoeba histolytica, the amoeba that causes dysentery and confirmed hook worm infections are contracted through skin on the feet. This he established through experiments with monkeys. In addition Schuadinn made important discoveries relating to sleeping sickness and malaria. Schaudinn died at the age of 34 following surgery to remove a gastrointestinal abscess, probably caused by an amoebian infection he voluntary acquired while doing research on amoebas.1871-09-19T00:00:00+0000d'Herelle was a microbiologist who co-discovered bacteriophages (phages), viruses that infect bacteria that are now major tools in biotechnology. He isolated the first phage from chicken faeces in 1919. Following this he successfully treated chicken affected by a plague of typhus with the phage and in August 1919 cured a patient with dysentery using the same method. This laid the basis for the development of phage therapy. 1873-04-25T00:00:00+0000Noguchi is best remembered for his identification, in 1913, of the causative agent of syphilis (the bacteria Treponema pallidum), and identification of the pathogen responsible for Carrion's disease (a Leishmania parasite). Unable to get a medical position in Japan because of his hand deformity which potential employers feared would put off potential patients, Noguchi spent his life doing laboratory work in the United States. While valued in his lifetime, his reputation took a battering after his death because researchers struggled to reproduce some of his claims, including having discovered the cause of yellow fever, polio and rabies.1876-11-24T00:00:00+0000An American virologist, Zinsser isolated the bacterium that causes typhus. 1878-11-17T00:00:00+0000Louis Pasteur develops an attenuated chicken cholera vaccine1879-01-01T00:00:00+0000Fleming was a biologist and microbiologist. He first made his mark through his discovery of lysosyme in 1923. This is an enzyme produced in the tears, saliva, mucus and human milk which is an important part of the immune system. Today he is best known for having found penicillin, a mould subsequently developed as the first antibiotic drug to treat bacterial diseases. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950 for this discovery.1881-08-06T00:00:00+0000Louis Pasteur successfully tested his rabies vaccine on a nine year old boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog.1885-07-06T00:00:00+0000Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist who is best known for inventing a sterilisation method for slowing down the development of microbes in milk and wine, a process now called pasteurisation. He also made significant breakthroughs in understanding the causes and prevention of bacterial diseases. His work was instrumental in helping to reduce the mortality rate from puerperal fever, a major cause of death for women in childbirth in the 19th century. Pasteur also pioneered the first rabies vaccine.1895-09-28T00:00:00+0000Domagk was a German pathologist, physician and bacteriologist. He is best known for having found sulphonamide to be an effective drug against bacterial infections. The molecule had originally been synthesised by chemists at the German company Bayer in 1908. Domagk discovered the antibacterial properties of the drug through preliminary tests in mice in 1931. Soon after this he successfully treated his own daughter struck down by a severe streptococcal infection. His work paved the way to the widespread adoption of sulphonamide drugs, the first commercially available antibiotics, in the late 1930s to treat infections caused by streptococci, including blood infections, childbirth fever, and erysipelas. Domagk was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1939 but the Nazi regime forced him to refuse it, with the Gestapo putting him under arrest for a week. He finally received the Nobel Prize in 1947. 1895-10-30T00:00:00+0000Wyckoff was a major pioneer of x-ray crystallography of bacteria. He helped develop a high-speed centrifuge for segregating microscopic and submicroscopic material to determine the sizes and molecular weights of small particles. In addition he purified the virus that causes equine encephalomyelitis which laid the foundation for the development of a vaccine to combat an epidemic of the disease in horses. His work in this field enabled him to create a vaccine against epidemic typhus for use in World War II. 1897-08-09T00:00:00+0000Schaudinn was a German zoologist and microbiologist, best known for helping to discover the bacterial cause of syphilis, in 1905. Prior to this research Schaudinn identified the unicellular parasite Entamoeba histolytica, the amoeba that causes dysentery and confirmed hook worm infections are contracted through skin on the feet. This he established through experiments with monkeys. In addition Schuadinn made important discoveries relating to sleeping sickness and malaria. Schaudinn died at the age of 34 following surgery to remove a gastrointestinal abscess, probably caused by an amoebian infection he voluntary acquired while doing research on amoebas. 1906-06-22T00:00:00+0000Ehrlich played a significant role in the development of the first serum therapy to combat diphtheria in the 1890s and devised methods for standardising therapeutic serums. In addition he invented staining techniques for distinguishing different types of blood cells which laid the foundation for diagnosing blood disorders. In 1900 he popularised the 'magic bullet' concept which promoted the idea of developing a drug capable of killing specific disease-causing microbes, like bacteria, without harming the body itself. Nine years later he succeeded in creating Salvasan, the first drug created to target a specific pathogen and the first effective medical treatment for syphilis. Ehrlich also coined the term 'antibody' and transformed understandings of how the immune system worked. In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the back of this work. Despite his groundbreaking research, Ehrlich struggled to get a permanent position because of his Jewish background.1915-08-20T00:00:00+0000Petri was a microbiologist who is credited with inventing the petri dish, a shallow glass cylinder used to culture cells and bacteria. This he developed in the late 1870s while working as an assistant to Robert Koch. Petri developed the dish to help culture bacteria on agar plates. He subsequently developed the technique of agar culture to clone bacterial colonies derived from single cells. His work helped improve the process of identifying bacteria responsible for disease.1921-12-20T00:00:00+0000Noguchi was a Japanese bacteriologist. He is best remembered for his identification, in 1913, of the causative agent of syphilis (the bacteria Treponema pallidum), and identification of the pathogen responsible for Carrion's disease (a Leishmania parasite). Unable to get a medical position in Japan because of his hand deformity which potential employers feared would put off potential patients, Noguchi spent his life doing laboratory work in the United States. While valued in his lifetime, his reputation took a battering after his death because researchers struggled to reproduce some of his claims, including having discovered the cause of yellow fever, polio and rabies. 1928-05-21T00:00:00+0000Together with Daniel E Salmon, Smith provided the first proof that killed bacteria could be used to induce immunity in experimental animals, in 1886. This laid the foundation for the subsequent development of protective immunisation in humans against bacterial diseases like typhoid and cholera. Smith also pioneered the use of the fermentation tube to study bacterial physiology and classification. Using this technique he managed to identify the causes of several infectious parasitic diseases, including Texas Cattle Fever caused by ticks. His delineation of the life-cycle of the tick paved the way to control of the disease by dipping cattle to kill the ticks. Smith's revelation that insects could transmit disease was a major breakthrough and laid the foundation for the investigation of yellow fever and malaria. Smith established the first department of bacteriology at a medical school in the United States - at Columbian University (now George Washington University).1934-12-10T00:00:00+0000d'Herelle was a French Canadian microbiologist who co-discovered bacteriophages (phages), viruses that infect bacteria that are now major tools in biotechnology. He isolated the first phage from chicken faeces in 1919. Following this he successfully treated chicken affected by a plague of typhus with the phage and in August 1919 cured a patient with dysentery using the same method. This laid the basis for the development of phage therapy. 1949-02-22T00:00:00+0000Marshall shared the 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to work out that peptic ulcers and gastritis are caused by the Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria. This finding, published in 1983, ended decades of medical teaching that bacteria could not live in the stomach's acidic environment and that peptic ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods and too much acid. To demonstrate the link Marshall drank a broth containing Helicobacter pylori, which five days later began to give him symptoms. Thanks to this work peptic ulcer disease can now be treated with a short course of antibiotics and acid secretion inhibitors. 1951-09-30T00:00:00+0000Fleming was a Scottish biologist and microbiologist. He first made his mark through his discovery of lysosyme in 1923. This is an enzyme produced in the tears, saliva, mucus and human milk which is an important part of the immune system. Today he is best known for having found penicillin, a mould subsequently developed as the first antibiotic drug to treat bacterial diseases. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950 for this discovery.1955-03-11T00:00:00+0000Domagk was a German pathologist, physician and bacteriologist. He is best known for having found sulphonamide to be an effective drug against bacterial infections. The molecule had originally been synthesised by chemists at the German company Bayer in 1908. Domagk discovered the antibacterial properties of the drug through preliminary tests in mice in 1931. Soon after this he successfully treated his own daughter struck down by a severe streptococcal infection. His work paved the way to the widespread adoption of sulphonamide drugs, the first commercially available antibiotics, in the late 1930s to treat infections caused by streptococci, including blood infections, childbirth fever, and erysipelas. Domagk was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1939 but the Nazi regime forced him to refuse it, with the Gestapo putting him under arrest for a week. He finally received the Nobel Prize in 1947. 1964-04-24T00:00:00+0000Wyckoff was a major pioneer of x-ray crystallography of bacteria. He helped develop a high-speed centrifuge for segregating microscopic and submicroscopic material to determine the sizes and molecular weights of small particles. In addition he purified the virus that causes equine encephalomyelitis which laid the foundation for the development of a vaccine to combat an epidemic of the disease in horses. His work in this field enabled him to create a vaccine against epidemic typhus for use in World War II.1994-11-03T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places
27 Dec 1822Louis Pasteur was bornPasteurPasteur Institute
11 Dec 1843Robert Koch was born in Clausthal (now Clausthal-Zellerfeld), GermanyKochUniversity of Berlin
31 May 1852Richard Julius Petri was bornPetriImperial Health Office
13 Sep 1853Hans C J Gram was born in Copenhagen, DenmarkGramUniversity of Copenhagen
14 Mar 1854Paul Ehrlich was born in Strehlen (now Strzelin), Prussia (now Poland)EhrlichStrehlen, Prussia
31 Jul 1859Theobald Smith was born in Albany, New York, USASmithBureau of Animal Industry, George Washington University
19 Sep 1871Fritz R Schaudinn was bornSchaudinnCharite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin
25 Apr 1873Felix d'Herelle was born in Montreal, Canadad'HerellePasteur Institute
24 Nov 1876Hideyo Noguchi was bornNoguchiRockefeller Institute
17 Nov 1878Hans Zinsser was bornZinsserColumbia University
1879Chicken cholera vaccine developedPasteurPasteur Institute
6 Aug 1881Alexander Fleming was bornFlemingLondon University
1885First rabies vaccine testedPasteurPasteur Institute
28 Sep 1895Louis Pasteur diedPasteurPasteur Institute
30 Oct 1895Gerhard Domagk was born in Lagow, GermanyDomagkMunster University
9 Aug 1897Ralph W G Wyckoff was born in Geneva, NY, USAWyckoffRockefeller University, University of Michigan, University of Arizona
22 Jun 1906Fritz R Schaudinn diedSchaudinnCharite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin
20 Aug 1915Paul Ehrlich diedEhrlichGoettingen University
20 Dec 1921Richard Julius Petri diedPetriImperial Health Office
21 May 1928Hideyo Noguchi diedNoguchiRockefeller Institute
10 Dec 1934Theobald Smith diedSmithBureau of Animal Industry, George Washington University
22 Feb 1949Felix d'Herelle diedd'HerellePasteur Institute
30 Sep 1951Barry J Marshall was born in Kalgoorlie, AustraliaMarshallUniversity of Western Australia
11 Mar 1955Alexander Fleming diedFlemingLondon University
24 Apr 1964Gerhard Domagk diedDomagkMunster University
3 Nov 1994Ralph W G Wyckoff diedWyckoffUniversity of Michigan, University of Arizona

27 Dec 1822

Louis Pasteur was born

11 Dec 1843

Robert Koch was born in Clausthal (now Clausthal-Zellerfeld), Germany

31 May 1852

Richard Julius Petri was born

13 Sep 1853

Hans C J Gram was born in Copenhagen, Denmark

14 Mar 1854

Paul Ehrlich was born in Strehlen (now Strzelin), Prussia (now Poland)

31 Jul 1859

Theobald Smith was born in Albany, New York, USA

19 Sep 1871

Fritz R Schaudinn was born

25 Apr 1873

Felix d'Herelle was born in Montreal, Canada

24 Nov 1876

Hideyo Noguchi was born

17 Nov 1878

Hans Zinsser was born

1879

Chicken cholera vaccine developed

6 Aug 1881

Alexander Fleming was born

1885

First rabies vaccine tested

28 Sep 1895

Louis Pasteur died

30 Oct 1895

Gerhard Domagk was born in Lagow, Germany

9 Aug 1897

Ralph W G Wyckoff was born in Geneva, NY, USA

22 Jun 1906

Fritz R Schaudinn died

20 Aug 1915

Paul Ehrlich died

20 Dec 1921

Richard Julius Petri died

21 May 1928

Hideyo Noguchi died

10 Dec 1934

Theobald Smith died

22 Feb 1949

Felix d'Herelle died

30 Sep 1951

Barry J Marshall was born in Kalgoorlie, Australia

11 Mar 1955

Alexander Fleming died

24 Apr 1964

Gerhard Domagk died

3 Nov 1994

Ralph W G Wyckoff died