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Olitzki, Aryeh Leo


OLITZKI, ARYEH LEO (1898–1983), Israeli bacteriologist. Born in Allenstein (E. Prussia), he was an assistant in the Institute of Hygiene of the University of Breslau before moving to Palestine in 1924. He continued his serological research at Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, and for some years headed the bacteriology laboratories at the Hadassah hospitals in Jerusalem and Safed. He taught at the Hebrew University from 1928, becoming professor in 1949 and dean of the Medical School from 1961 to 1965. In the course of investigating problems of serology and immunology, especially in relation to infectious diseases peculiar to Israel, he discovered a method of inoculating humans against Brucellosa infection from sheep and cattle. His major breakthrough was the laboratory cultivation (with Zipporah Gershon) of the Lepra bacillus, thus paving the way toward early diagnosis of the disease and the possibility of more effective treatment. Olitzki published many scientific papers and co-authored (with N. Grossowicz) a Hebrew textbook on microbiology and immunology (Yesodot Torat ha-Ḥaidakkim ve-ha-Ḥasinut, 2 vols., 1964–68). He was awarded the Israel Prize in Medicine in 1967.

[Lucien Harris]

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