Article - SAUL ADLER
Saul Adler was born in 1895 in the city of Karelitz in Russia. He was brought to England as a child of five years of age.
He received a traditional Jewish education, studied medicine at the University of Leeds, and after that served in the British Army in Iraq. After returning to civilian life, he specialized in tropical medicine at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and for a period worked in Sierra Leone. As an enthusiastic believer in the Zionist idea, he emigrated to Israel in 1924. That year he was appointed as a research fellow at the Hebrew University, Professor in 1928, and as Head of the Department of Parasitology until his retirement in 1965. He continued working in the University until his death in 1966.
Saul Adler was one of Israel 's most outstanding scientists, and his scientific contributions in a number of fields earned him wide international recognition that was expressed in innumerable invitations to congresses, and as an advisor to scientists and research groups in a number of countries. In Israel, he was an advisor and a source of inspiration on a wide range of projects in medicine. As a teacher and educator in scientific disciplines, he prepared many disciples who today are found in various research institutions.
In addition to his great scientific knowledge, he was a Hebrew and Yiddish scholar, and was as much at home with Elizabethan poetry as with classical and modern Hebrew literature. He was an inquiring and enthusiastic student of natural history, and a mathematician of considerable ability. Adler's translation of Darwin's Origin of Species into Hebrew was awarded the Tchernichowsky Prize.
Adler's scientific reputation rests on a wide range of achievements. Major among these was work on leishmaniases, protozoal diseases transmitted to man by the bite of the sandfly. This group of diseases is widely suffered in both the New and Old World; Adler was one of the first and most important of the investigators of this group of maladies. He devoted much time and thought to the problem of leishmanial transmission. His work together with Theodor was a major contribution to the epidemiology of leishmaniases. He was able to show that it was possible to infect human volunteers with leishmania from artificially-infected sandflies.
Also with Theodor, he described the method of distinguishing the species of sandflies. Adler was among the initiators of the identification of leishmanial species and strains. He was able to prove that sandflies are the vectors of leishmaniases in Israel.
Adler's investigations led to the local recognition of certain tick-borne fevers in cattle and to the introduction in Israel of vaccination against theileria and anaplasma of cattle. These measures made possible the flourishing dairy industry of today. It was he, with the assistance of Mr. Haim Ben-Menahem, then head of an animal house at the Hebrew University, who succeeded in breeding in captivity the wild Syrian hamster and introducing this valuable animal into laboratory research. All the hamsters in every laboratory the world over are descended from the two females and one male that he bred in Jerusalem. He also introduced a reliable method for classification of ticks. His investigations into relapsing fever in Eretz Israel were performed in a cave and exposed him to the disease and as a result led to his infection with relapsing fever.
His contribution to malariology was fundamental, both in the human disease and in developing laboratory models for research. Honors were showered on Saul Adler by governments and institutions, yet he remained a completely unassuming and modest person. His awards included the Order of the British Empire, The Chalmers Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Laveran Medal of the Societe de Pathologie Exotique.
In 1957 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, and he was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, Leeds University. He received the Israel Prize, the Weizmann Prize, the Israel Medical Association's Prize and, shortly before his death, the Bublik Prize of the Hebrew University.