Skryabin, Konstantin Ivanovich

views updated


(b. St. Petersburg, Russia [now Leningrad, U.S.S.R], 7 December 1878; d. Moscow, U.S.S.R., 17 October 1972)

helminthology, public health.

The son of a communications engineer, Skryabin attended the Dorpat (now Tartu) Veterinary Institute while auditing classes at the Faculty of Biology of Dorpat University. From 1905 he was a veterinarian in Kazakhstan. Sent abroad to continue his research on helminthology, he worked in the laboratories of Max Braun, Lue, Alcide Railliet, and Furman.

In 1917 Skryabin became professor in the first chair of parasitology in Russia, at Novocherkassk, and from 1920 he headed the chair of parasitology of the Moscow Veterinary Institute (now the K. I. Skryabin Moscow Veterinary Academy). Three important helminthological research institutes were organized in Moscow under his direction: the helminthological section of the State Institute of Experimental Veterinary Medicine, reorganized in 1931 as the All-Union Institute of Helminthology and named for Skryabin in 1939; the helminthological section of the Central Tropical Institute (now the I. E. Martsinovsky Institute of Medical Parasitology and Tropical Medicine), which.Skryabin directed from 1921 to 1949: and a small parasitological laboratory of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of Moscow University that he headed for several years. In 1942 the Laboratory of Helminthology of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences was established, and it was headed by Skryabin until his death.

Skryahin’s more than 700 works are devoted to morphology, biology, phylogeny, taxonomy, the geography of helminths, epidemiology (epizootiology), helminthiasis, clinical pathogenesis, preventive and therapeutic measures, and the development of principles and radical methods for eliminating helminths in man and animals. The more than 340 expeditions organized under his general direction—and frequently with his participation—played a major role in disseminating knowledge of helminths of man and animals. Material gathered on these expeditions was amassed through the method of complete helminthological dissection, which Skryabin elaborated. In addition to his revisions of many taxonomic groups, Skryabin described more than 200 new species and 100 new genera of helminths.

Skryabin’s methods of prophylaxis against helminthiases were widely used in the Soviet Union and in other countries, and his principles of the complete elimination of various species of pathogenic helminths led, in certain areas, to the total liquidation of a number of helminthiases, including ascariasis, ancylostomiasis, and taeniarhynchosis. Through his work such helminthiases of animals as echinococcosis, cysticercosis of cattle, dictyocaulosis of large horned animals, fascioliasis of cattle, and Moniezia infections have been virtually eliminated in many districts in the Soviet Union.

Skryabin’s special interest in the trematode and the diseases it causes resulted in the important monograph Trematody zhivotnysh i cheloveka (“Trematodes of Animals and Man”), of which twenty-five of twenty-seven projected volumes were published. Each volume included a description of a given taxonomic group and presented a new system and tables for diagnostic determinations of trematodosis in animals. His concern to further the progress of helminthology led him to create and head a commission, established in 1922 at the zoological museum of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences, to coordinate biological, medical, veterinary, and agronomical research. The commission was reorganized in 1940 as the All-Union Society of Helminthologists of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences.

His emphasis on the maintenance of relations with foreign scientists led Skryabin to travel frequently after World War II and to present many reports to the International Epizootic Bureau in Paris (1930–1937) and to the Eleventh International Veterinary Congress in London in 1930. His proposal for the international coordination of research on measures against trichinosis, echinococcosis, and fascioliasis was accepted at a meeting of parasitologists in Hungary in 1959. The international journal Helminthologia was founded that year at his request, and he served as president of its editorial board.

Skryabin was an honorary or active member of many foreign academies and scientific societies. He was twice awarded the State Prize of the U.S.S.R. (1941, 1950), received the Lenin Prize in 1957, and in 1958 was awarded the honorary title Hero of Socialist Labor.

N. P. Shikhobalova