By Alfred I. Tauber
This attention-grabbing highbrow historical past is the 1st severe research of the paintings of Elie Metchnikoff, the founder of glossy immunology. Metchnikoff authored and championed the idea that phagocytic cells actively protect the host physique opposed to pathogens and diseased cells. His application constructed from comparative embryological reviews that sought to set up genealogical kin among species on the sunrise of the Darwinian revolution. during this clinical biography, Tauber and Chernyak discover ore Metchnikoff's improvement as an embryologist, exhibiting the way it ready him to suggest his idea of host-pathogen interplay. They speak about the profound effect of Darwin's idea of evolution on Metchnikoff's growth, and the effect of nineteenth century debates on vitalism, teleology, and mechanism. As a case research of clinical discovery, this paintings bargains lucid perception into the method of artistic technology and its dependence on cultural and philosophic resources. Immunologists and historians of technology and medication will locate it an soaking up and obtainable account of a outstanding person.
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Extra resources for Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology: From Metaphor to Theory (Monographs on the History and Philosophy of Biology)
19, p. 41) Devotion to Darwin's idea focused Metchnikoff's interest in zoology. Sometime around 1865, he read Fritz Mueller's Fuer Darwin, a book that "had a decisive influence on the future direction of his researches" (19, p. 50). Working with crustaceans, Fritz Mueller had demonstrated that the most important information concerning the genealogy of creatures was to be found in their embryology. It was the basic result that supported the future formulation of the so-called Mueller-Haeckel biogenetic law.
87). Olga, in turn, felt "terror that he must be mistaken about me; I felt as if I were going up for an examination without any previous study" ( Life, p. 88). Olga passed admirably, and they were married in February 1875; she served as MetchnikofPs close confidante, assistant, and (later) collaborator throughout his life. They never had children. Truly, only an extraordinary devotee could have admired Metchnikoff so completely as to tolerate such a volatile and narcissistic man. Her infatuation was complete: she described him "not unlike a figure of Christ" ( Life, p.
That experiment formed the basis of the phagocyte theory, to the development of which I devoted the next twenty-five years of my life. ( Life, pp. 116-117) Why Metchnikoff viewed this discovery as a flash of insight and not the product of a deliberate and exhaustive research program is a problem we must address. The presentation of his theory to Rudolf Virchow and Nicholaus Kleinenberg who were in Messina that summer of 1883, was well received; Karl Claus in Vienna helped coin the term phagocyte (from the Greek phagos [to eat] and cyte [cell]).