Human History and Infectious Diseases Collide May 2 at Hamilton PAC

Stanley Falkow, Ph.D.

From plague to poxviruses, retired Stanford University professor and part-time Hamilton resident Stanley Falkow, Ph.D., will highlight the influence of infectious diseases on world history during a presentation on Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m. in the Hamilton High School Performing Arts Center, 327 Fairgrounds Road. His lively talk, a melding of facts and anecdotes, will evolve from the Reformation and Renaissance eras to Reconstruction, the Industrial Revolution and beyond. The event is free and open to the public as part of a community outreach series sponsored by Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML). RML is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a component of the National Institutes of Health.

“Seldom do people realize the enormous impact infectious diseases have had on global exploration, trade and conquest,” Dr. Falkow said. “Microbes have changed the course of wars, they have brought poverty to large geographic areas, and led to a concept in hygiene that we now call ‘public health.’ ”

Dr. Falkow, trained in microbiology and immunology, spent his career studying bacteria such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli. In 2008, he received the Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Science—one of the most prestigious awards in American science. In a 2009 USA Today article, Dr. Falkow is referred to as the father of research into how germs cause disease.

He has been affiliated with Stanford University since 1981 as an instructor, mentor and researcher. He previously taught and conducted research at the University of Washington, Georgetown University and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Despite having retired, he still teaches and consults with researchers around the world.

“Few people have had as pervasive an influence in science as Stanley Falkow,” said Marshall Bloom, M.D., RML Associate Director for Scientific Research. “He has made impacts in every facet of modern microbiology and his trainees are leaders at the finest institutions in the world. He continues to consult with and advise RML scientists. We truly are lucky to count him as a friend, and are incredibly fortunate to have him present this lecture in Hamilton.”

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health: NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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