December 11 - Happy Birthday Robert Koch

Posted on December 11, 2018

The "Father of Bacteriology" may not sound super wonderful - but I suppose it's better than the "Father of Infectious Diseases"!

"The Person who Saved Humanity" is a really nice title!

Born in the Kingdom of Hanover (now Germany) on this date in 1843, Robert Koch did tons of great science that led to much better understanding of infectious diseases and other medical concerns. And he received a Nobel Prize for some of these discoveries.

Here are some of his most important accomplishments:

He figured out the cause of tuberculosis, including the specific slow-growing bacteria that causes it.

He realized that anthrax spores can remain dormant under some conditions, only to become activated and cause a deadly disease under other conditions.

He isolated the bacterium that causes cholera. 

He observed and described cases of acquired immunity.

He developed methods of growing bacterials cultures in agar.

He developed experimental support for the concept of infectious disease.

He developed a way of researching possible bacterial causes of new or unknown diseases using four postulates (Koch's postulates) - and these postulates are still used today.
1) The bacteria must be present in every case of the disease. 
2) The bacteria must be isolated from the person (or other organism) that has the disease; in other words, it must be grown in pure culture. 
3) Samples of the bacteria taken from the pure culture must cause the same disease when inoculated into a healthy animal in the laboratory. 
4) The bacteria must then be isolated from the inoculated animal, and must be compared to the original organism first isolated from the original person (or other organism). The two samples of bacteria must be identified as being the same species of bacteria.

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