Gotschlich, Emil Claus (1935- )

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Gotschlich, Emil Claus (1935- )

German-American physician and bacteriologist

Emil Gotschlich's basic research on Meningococcus, Gonococcus, Streptococcus, Haemophilus, Escherichia coli, protein antigens, and polysaccharides has contributed much to the knowledge of immunology , vaccines, and the bacterial pathogenesis of meningitis , gonorrhea , and other diseases.

Gotschlich was born on January 17, 1935, in Bangkok, Thailand, to Emil Clemens Gotschlich, and his wife Magdalene, née Holst, both expatriate Germans. He immigrated to the United States in 1950 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1955, the same year that he received his A.B. from the New York University College of Arts and Sciences. After receiving his M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine in 1959, he interned at Bellevue Hospital in New York City until 1960, then joined the staff of Rockefeller University, where he built the rest of his career, except for serving as a captain in the Department of Bacteriology of the U.S. Army Medical Corps at the Walter Reed Institute for Research in Washington, D.C., from 1966 to 1968. At Rockefeller in 2002, he is simultaneously professor of bacteriology, head of the Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology Laboratory, vice president for medical sciences, and principal investigator of the General Clinical Research Center.

Gotschlich's team at Rockefeller continues to achieve important results in bacteriology and immunology and has published hundreds of scientific papers. As of 2000, Gotschlich was the author, lead author, or co-author of 135 of these papers. The main focus of his research is the Neisseria genus of bacteria , especially two pathogenic varieties: the meningococcus Neisseria meningitidis and the gonococci Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In the 1970s, he engaged in a fruitful scientific correspondence with Harry A. Feldman (19141985) about meningococcal diseases and won the 1978 Albert Lasker Award for his part in developing a polysaccharide vaccine against these diseases. In 1984, he outlined protocols for the development of a gonorrhea vaccine. In 2001, the United States Centers for Disease Control appointed him to its national review committee on anthrax vaccine safety and efficacy.

Medicine and medical research are a tradition in Gotschlich's family. His grandfather, Emil Carl Anton Constantin Gotschlich, a student of Carl Flügge and a colleague of Max Josef von Pettenkoffer (18181901) and Robert Koch (18431910), was a prominent German academic physician, hygienist, and epidemiologist who specialized in cholera and tropical diseases. His great uncle, Felix Gotschlich (b. 1874), also studied cholera and in 1906 isolated El Tor vibrio cholerae, an epidemic strain of the cholera bacillus. His father was a physician in private practice in Thailand. His second wife, Kathleen Ann Haines (b. 1949), a pediatric allergist and immunologist in New York City; his son, Emil Christopher Gotschlich (b. 1961), an obstetrician/gynecologist in Portland, Maine; and his daughter, Hilda Christina Gartley (b. 1965), a pediatrician in Boston, Massachusetts, all continue this tradition.

See also Antibiotics; Antibody and antigen; Bacteria and bacterial infection; Haemophilus; Infection control; Lipopolysaccharide and its constituents; Meningitis, bacterial and viral; Microbiology, clinical; Serology; Streptococci and streptococcal infections; Vaccine