Nobel Prize Laureate Medical Pioneer. He is remembered for his 1906 discovery of the cause of whooping cough. Born in Soignies, Belgium he graduated as a Doctor of Medicine at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels, Belgium)in 1892 and began his work at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France in 1894. In 1900 he left Paris to found the Pasteur Institute in Brussels, and made his discovery that the bacteriolytic effect of acquired specific antibody is significantly enhanced in vivo by the presence of innate serum components. This mechanism became the basis for complement-fixation testing methods that enabled the development of serological tests for syphilis (specifically, the development of the Wassermann test by August von Wassermann), and is still used today in serologic testing for many other diseases. With fellow doctor and bacteriologist Octave Gengou he isolated the bacteria Bordetella pertussis in pure culture in 1906 and determined it as the cause of whooping cough. In 1907 he became Professor of Bacteriology at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles and in 1916 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and delivered their Croonian Lecture in 1930. In 1919 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries pertaining to immunity. He died in Brussels, Belgium at the age of 90. The bacterial genus Bordetella is named after him.
Bio by: William Bjornstad