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Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, and Microbiologists

A History of the Microbiome and Metagenomics

Summers, William C.


1. Auflage April 2024
144 Seiten, Softcover

ISBN: 978-1-68367-477-1
John Wiley & Sons

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Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, and Microbiologists

Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, and Microbiologists: A History of the Microbiome and Metagenomics by William C. Summers is an enlightening journey through the fascinating world of microbiology, exploring its history, challenges, and the revolutionary concept of the microbiome.

Summers draws from his unique perspective as both a practicing microbiologist and a historian of science, influenced by early microbiological literature and his own extensive career, presenting how our understanding of microbes evolved from concepts of simple germs to complex, essential elements of life. Summers skillfully ties together key players and eras in the microbial sciences into a concise narrative, from early microscopic observations to the revolutionary developments in genetic analysis and metagenomics, highlighting our ever-evolving understanding of the diverse microbial world.

Magic Bullets, Miracle Drugs, and Microbiologists is a compelling read for anyone interested in the profound impact of microorganisms on our world.

"Bill Summers artfully explains how, over the past century, scientists have synthesized new disciplines and embraced evolving technologies to develop new concepts about how germs behave in microbial communities and what their relationship is to the environment, human health, and epidemic diseases. Skillfully written in engaging prose, this book will be valuable to microbiologists, epidemiologists, medical historians, and geneticists seeking to better understand the historic roots of twenty-first century microbiology."

-- Powel H Kazanjian, University of Michigan Medical School and Author of Frederick Novy and the Development of Bacteriology in Medicine

List of Illustrations vi

Foreword vii

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

About the Author xiv

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Chapter 2 Microbe Hunting before DNA 9

Chapter 3 Magic Bullets and Miracle Drugs 21

Chapter 4 Hints of Trouble 33

Chapter 5 The Terrible Decade 45

Chapter 6 Loss of Innocence 65

Chapter 7 The New Microbe Hunters 77

Chapter 8 Global Microbiology 89

Chapter 9 Emerging Diseases, Evolution, and the Microbiome 107

Chapter 10 The Future of the Microbiome Concept 119

Index 125
William C. Summers is a retired Professor of the History of Medicine, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and Therapeutic Radiology in the History of Science and Medicine Program at Yale University. He was awarded the Byrnes/Sewall Prize in 2006 and published on topics ranging from quantum mechanics to viral genetics.

W. C. Summers, Yale University