Thursday, April 20, 2017

Unsung Heroes In Our Battle Against Infectious Disease

Humanity has always been at war with infectious agents, but it wasn’t until 1860 when Louis Pasteur famously theorized that microbes (first observed by Antony van Leeuwenhoek in the 1600s) cause disease. It took another 70 years before Alexander Fleming noticed that Penicillium mold produced a substance that killed bacteria. While most people are familiar with these luminaries in the field, have you heard of Francesco Redi, Ignaz Semmelweis, Theobald Smith, Mary Hunt, and a cow named Blossom? In this presentation, we celebrate some of the “unsung heroes” whose victories are often neglected from the infectious disease saga.

In the talk below, Dr. Bill Sullivan, a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine, takes us on a fascinating tour through medical history, answering these questions and more:

How did we figure out that microscopic creatures can make us sick?
Why were milkmaids considered to be so beautiful and what does that have to do with vaccination?
How were starfish important to the discovery of the immune system?
What do you mean penicillin wasn't the first antibiotic?

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