Press Releases

1999 Releases

Germany Honors HSPH Dean Bloom for Lifework in Infectious Disease

For immediate release: November 01, 1999

Boston, MA--At a ceremony in Bonn last week, Barry R. Bloom, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, was awarded the Robert Koch Gold Medal. This is one of Germany's most prestigious scientific awards, honoring the lifetime work of a scientist who contributes essential understanding of infectious and other widespread diseases.

In the citation for the award, presented by the German health ministry and the Robert Koch Foundation, Bloom was honored for research that included the first description of a cytokine involved in the tuberculin reaction and the unraveling of the cellular basis of delayed hypersensitivity immunologic reactions. Other work cited was the characterization of antigens of the tuberculosis and leprosy bacteria and the revealing of defense mechanisms against these infectious agents. Bloom also developed novel strategies for improved vaccination against tuberculosis. The German government praised him, as well, for his efforts to improve cooperation between basic scientists and health policy decision-makers.

The Koch Medal is named for the German scientist who, in 1882, isolated the tuberculosis and cholera bacteria and established the germ theory of disease. The Koch Foundation, established in 1907 to help fight tuberculosis, has awarded the Gold Medal annually since 1960. The Foundation operates under the auspices of the German president Johannes Rau.

The first American winners of the Koch Medal were Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin and John Franklin Enders in 1962 for their work in polio. Last year's winner was George Klein of Sweden for his work on the immunology of cancer.

Dean Bloom continues to work in his laboratory at the HSPH on a complete understanding of tuberculosis and how immunity against the disease is developed.

For further information, please contact:

Robin Herman
Director of Communications
677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Phone: 617-432-4752
Email: rherman@hsph.harvard.edu