International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Dr Saul Adler

    Status Medical Researcher
    Country Israel


    Saul Adler, MD (1895-1966) was a Russian-born professor of parasitology.

    Adler moved to the United Kingdom as a child and studied medicine at the University of Leeds. He became interested in tropical diseases while serving in the Middle East as a Regimental Medical Officer during the First World War, and studied at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine after his return.

    He moved to Palestine in 1924, and from 1934 until his death in 1966 he served as head and professor of the Department of Parasitology at the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. He was instrumental in breeding the wild Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) in captivity, enabling its use in medical research, and he worked on the transmission of leprosy bacilli to this species.

    Though this was his major contribution in leprosy, he also contributed important research in other areas, especially the epidemiology of leishmaniasis. He was invited to speak at universities and medical schools around the world. During World War II, he taught parasitology to Allied medical personnel stationed in the Middle East.

    He was highly respected in the Israeli scientific community, and received many honours for his work, including the OBE, the Chalmers Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Laveran Medal of the Société de Pathologie Exotique, the Israel Prize, the Weizmann Prize, the Israel Medical Association Prize, and the Bublick Prize of Hebrew University.


    International Journal of Leprosy, Centennial Festskrift edition, Vol 41, No 2. 1973.

    Sagher, Felix. "Obituary: Saul Adler 1895-1966." International Journal of Leprosy Vol 34, No 3. 327-8.

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