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Schaudinn, Fritz Richard

human syphilis entamoeba berlin

[ show din] (1871–1906) German zoologist and microbiologist: identified the organism responsible for syphilis.

After starting university work as a student of philology at Berlin, Schaudinn turned to science and specialized in zoology. During his short career he worked in Berlin, especially on those protozoa (notably trypanosomes) that cause human disease. He demonstrated the alternation of generations in Foraminifera and worked out the life-cycle of the Coccidiae (scale insect). He distinguished between the amoeba causing tropical dysentery ( Entamoeba histolytica ) and its harmless relative Entamoeba coli which lives in the human intestinal lining; his work included experimental self-infection with both organisms. His best-known discovery, made in 1905 with the dermatologist P E Hoffmann (1868–1959), was of the pale threadlike undulating spirochaete, now named Treponema pallidum , that causes syphilis. Proof that this causes venereal syphilis was not easy and its acceptance was delayed. He also worked on malaria, proved an earlier guess that the parasite of human hookworm enters through the skin of the feet, and described many new animals first observed by him on expeditions to the Arctic.

Schawlow, Arthur (Leonard) [next]

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