The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has designated the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine as its newest Milestones in Microbiology site. The site was commemorated with the installation of a plaque at the school, revealed during a celebratory reception.
According to the ASM, the Milestones program is designed to increase professional and public recognition of the significance of the science of microbiology.
Tulane SPHTM was recognized by the society as the oldest school of public health in the country and the only American school of tropical medicine. The work of numerous Tulane researchers on tropical diseases was highlighted during the plaque presentation, including:
- Paul C. Beaver, who carried out definitive work on the transmission and pathogenesis of hookworm infestation
- Dean Stanford Chaille, who served as president of the Havana Yellow Fever Commission
- Rudolf Matas, who was one of the first in the U.S. to promote Carlos Finlay’s theory that mosquitos were the transmitters of yellow fever
- Charles Franklin-Craig, who perfected the complement-fixation test for amebiasis
- Charles C. Bass, who did pioneering work in parasitology by culturing the malaria parasite
It was noted that Bass is also known as the “father of preventive dentistry” because of his study of microorganisms in human saliva, which, when combined with plaque, cause tooth decay. He advocated daily removal of oral bacteria through proper use of a toothbrush and dental floss, making him the first to describe effective oral hygiene.
Many Tulane faculty have served as president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and two, Ernest Faust and Paul Beaver, have received the Walter Reed Medal of the ASTMH.
“The public health programs of the school are renowned worldwide”, said ASM President Dr. Bonnie Bassler, who made the presentation. “We are especially pleased to recognize you as you begin to celebrate your centennial, marking your century of commitment to global health.”
Dr. Nirbhay Kumar, chair of the Department of Tropical Medicine, received the distinction on behalf of the school.