Howard Taylor Ricketts (1871-1910), an American pathologist associated with the University of Chicago who succeeded in demonstrating transmission of Rocky Mountain spotted fever via insect vector (tick). Despite Ricketts' pioneering discovery, the precise nature of the pathogen - whether bacterial, protozoan, or viral - would remain in doubt until the advent of electron microscopy.

Ricketts was also known for dedicatedly injecting himself as a means of studying the effects of pathogens. During the 1910 Mexico City outbreak of typhus, he was able to isolate the pathogen, only to die himself of the disease. The very small coccobacillus Rickettsia rickettsii and the family Rickettsiaceae are named after Ricketts. In 1912 his family founded the Howard Taylor Ricketts Research Prize at the University of Chicago. See Weiss & Bernard (1991).


Last modified 25 January 2017