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René Dubos, tuberculosis, and the “ecological facets of virulence”

Reflecting on his scientific career toward the end of his life, the French-educated medical researcher René Dubos presented his flowering as an ecological thinker as a story of linear progression—the inevitable product of the intellectual seeds planted in his youth. But how much store should we set by Dubos’s account of his ecological journey? Resisting retrospective biographical ...

‘Tipping the Balance’: Karl Friedrich Meyer, Latent Infections, and the Birth of Modern Ideas of Disease Ecology

The Swiss-born medical researcher Karl Friedrich Meyer (1884–1974) is best known as a ‘microbe hunter’ who pioneered investigations into diseases at the intersection of animal and human health in California in the 1920s and 1930s. In particular, historians have singled out Meyer’s 1931 Ludwig Hektoen Lecture in which he described the animal kingdom as a ‘reservoir of disease’ as a ...