American Philosophical Society
Member History

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Resident (1)
2. Biological Sciences[X]
209. Neurobiology[X]
1Name:  Dr. Barry R. Bloom
 Institution:  Harvard University
 Year Elected:  2004
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  209. Neurobiology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1937
Barry Bloom's passion has been to relate the cutting edge of biomedical science to the needs of the 85% of the world's people living in resource-poor developing countries. His initial research analyzed the complex mechanisms of the immune response by developing in vitro models, enabling him to discover the first lymphokine or cytokine, non-antibody products of activated lymphocytes that regulate the functions of the immune system and mediate inflammation, tissue damage and resistance to microbial infection. After teaching the first course on immunology in India, he began research on leprosy. With collaborators, he created the first DNA library containing all the genes of the leprosy and the tubercle bacilli, thereby ultimately enabling the complete genomes of these major pathogens of humans to be sequenced. Those libraries and the first monoclonal antibodies produced against these pathogens were given to the World Health Organization (WHO) to distribute free of charge to scientists all over the world, helping to stimulate a global effort against these diseases. He has more recently explored the genetic basis of resistance of experimental animals against tuberculosis which integrates knowledge of the host and pathogen in understanding the disease. When there was a serious increase in tuberculosis in the U.S. in the early 1990s his group established, against conventional wisdom, that active transmission of infection, rather than reactivation of old infections, was an important component of the epidemic. Such transmission required implementation of stringent public health measures. He has worked in an official capacity for the WHO for the past 37 years and has advised the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences and the White House on scientific issues and on international health policies. Dr. Bloom is currently Dean of the Faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health.
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