Metchnikoff, a Russian-born zoologist known as the “father of immunology,” received his doctorate at St. Petersburg in 1867 and became Professor of Zoology & Comparative Anatomy at Odessa (1870-82). By 1883 he had delivered at Odessa the results of observations made at Messina on the larvae of starfish, generalised to all creatures with blood and inflammatory immune responses. The result was his celebrated theory of phagocytosis whereby macrophages (white blood cells) surround and engulf microbes, inflammation, or both. For this work he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine-Physiology in 1908. From 1888 he worked with Pasteur at the Paris Institute. In 1887 Metchnikoff observed blood leukocytes migrating to and surrounding certain bacteria, a process later known as "leukocyte killing" that proved valuable in antiserum and acquired immunity studies. See Almroth Wright.

Bibliography of works by Elie Metschnikoff

] Studien ueber die Entwickelung der Echinodermen und Nemertinen. St. Petersbourg: l'Académie Imperiale des Sciences, 1869. This pioneering study of marine echinoderms (starfish and nematode worms) led to generalisations about higher organisms and their shared/parallel defensive immune-systems.

] Leçons sur la pathologie comparée de l'inflammation faiths à l'Institut Pasteur en avril et mai 1891. [Lessons on the comparative pathology of inflammation performed at the Pasteur Institute in April and May 1891]. Paris: Masson 1892, and St. Petersburg 1892. The developed theory of Phagocytosis (German: Phagozytentheorie).

Annales de l'Institut Pasteur, iii: 289 (1889); iv: 65, 193, 493 (1890); v: 465 (1891); vi: 289 (1892) passim. Equally prolific were Metchnikoff's fundamental part-studies sent to Virchow's Archiv, 96: 177; 97: 502; 107: 209; 109: 176 passim. References collected and sequenced by Muir & Ritchie (1910), pp. 667-8, "Immunity".

l'Immunité dans les maladies infectieuses. [Immunity in infectious illnesses]. Paris: Masson et Cie, 1901. St. Petersburg, 1903.

Études sur la nature humaine. Essai de philosophie optimiste. Paris: Masson & Cie, 1903. The Nature of Man: Studies in Optimistic Philosophy. Trans. P. Chalmers Mitchell. New York: G. Putnam's Sons, 1903; London: William Heinemann 1903. For Metchnikoff, the ultimate faith was to be placed in an all-powerful Science.

"La Vieillesse" [Old Age]. Revue Politique et Littéraire et Revue Scientifique. 1904.

Reactions phagocytaires. Lecture to the Medical University of Amsterdam, November 12th, 1904. Amsterdam, 1904. An historically structured account of Metchnikoff's two decades of work and study as bacteriologist and immunologist, c. 1884-1904.

Immunity in Infective Diseases. Cambridge University Press, 1905. English trans. of (1901).

The New Hygiene: Three Lectures on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases. London: William Heinemann, 1906.

"Sur la prophylaxie de la syphilis", Annales de l'Institute Pasteur. Paris: Masson 1907.

The Prolongation of Life. Optimistic Studies. P. Chalmers Mitchell (Ed.). New York and London: Knickerbocker Press. G. Putnam's Sons 1908.

Lectures on the Comparative Pathology of Inflammation. English trans. of (1891). New York: Dover Publications, 1968.

Secondary Materials

Muir, Robert, and James Ritchie. Manual of Bacteriology. 5th ed. London: Hodder & Stoughton. Oxford: Henry Frowde. 1910.

Trois fondateurs de la médicine moderne. Pasteur, Lister, Koch. Paris: Libraire Felix Alcan, 1933. English trans. by D. Berger. The Founders of Modern Medicine. New York: Walden Publications, 1939.


Last modified 11 January 2017