Bayer, Manfred E. (1928- )

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Bayer, Manfred E. (1928- )

German physician

While educated as a physician, Manfred Bayer is best known for the series of fundamental contributions he has made to the study of bacterial and viral ultrastructure. He was the first person to visualize the yellow fever virus in cultured cells, and to obtain ultrathin sections of the changes caused to the cell wall of Escherichia coli by the antibiotic penicillin . The latter achievement helped guide the development of future antibiotics active against the bacterial wall. In the 1960s, he identified zones of adhesion between the inner and outer membranes of Escherichia coli. Bayer's rigorous experiments established that these adhesion zones that were apparent in thin sections of cells examined by the technique of transmission electron microscopy had biochemical significance e.g., routing of bacterial components to the surface of the cell, route for passage of viruses into the bacterium, specific site of certain enzyme activity). In recognition of his efforts, the adhesion sites were dubbed "Bayer's adhesion zones."

Bayer was born in Görlitz, Prussia (now Poland). Following his high school education he enrolled in the biology program at the University of Kiel in Germany. He obtained his degree in 1949. Following this, he was accepted for medical studies at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He completed his preclinical training in 1953 and clinical training in 1955. From 1957 to 1959 he studied physics at the same university. During this same period he earned his accreditation as a physician, and undertook research studies in pathology. This research led to a Research Associate position at the University of Hamburg from 1957 to 1961. Also during this period Bayer undertook diploma studies at the university's Institute of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology. He received his diploma in 1961.

From 1960 to 1962, Bayer was an Assistant Member of the Institute of Tropical Diseases and Parasitology. Then, he immigrated to the United States to take up the position of Research Associate with The Institute of Cancer Research in Philadelphia. He has remained at the institute ever since, as an Assistant Member (19641967), Associate Member (19671978), Member (19781986), Senior Member (1986 to 1997), and Senior Member Emeritus (1997 to present). As well, he was an Adjunct Professor for Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School (19712000) and a Honorary Visiting Professor at Dalhousie University, Halifax (1981present).

Another contribution that Bayer has made to the field of bacterial ultrastructure is in the use of water-soluble embedding resins. The resins are used to solidify samples so that thin sections can be cut for electron microscopic examination . Some of the early refinements to the quality of the resins and the embedding techniques were pioneered by Bayer and his colleagues.

In 1968, Bayer and his colleagues deduced the structure of the structural units that form the hepatitis virus. Their discovery led to the formulation of a vaccine .

In addition to his research activities, Bayer has been a teacher and mentor to hundreds of students over four decades.

Bayer's research and teaching accomplishments have garnered him numerous honors and awards, including the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (1977), fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology, and over 15 years as an editorial member of the Journal of Bacteriology.

See also Bacterial ultrastructure; Electron microscopic examination of microorganisms