Major contributions of Dutch scientists to the emerging field of virology in the last century are described, starting with Beijerinck, who first proposed the concept of a virus in 1898. Special attention is payed to advances in the field of medical virology. This unique chronicle of Dutch medical virology is recommended literature for all, but certainly next generation virologists, as it describes scientific highlights of a discipline, that allowed a dramatic reduction of morbidity and mortality in the past century.
Ab Osterhaus en Roel Coutinho
This book offers a tour of the history of medical virology in the Netherlands from the nineteenth century to the new millennium. Beginning with the discovery of the first virus by Martinus Beijerinck in 1898, the authors investigate the reception and redefinition of his concept in medical circles and its implications for medical practice, particularly in the diagnosis and prevention of viral infections. The relatively slow progress of these areas in the first half of the twentieth century and their explosive growth in the wake of molecular techniques are examined. The surveillance and control of virus diseases in the field of public health is treated in depth, as are tumour virus research and the important Dutch contributions to technical developments instrumental in advancing virology worldwide. Particular attention is paid to oft forgotten virus research in the former Dutch colonies in the East and West Indies and Africa.
Gerard van Doornum started a career in general practice after medical study at the Free University in Amsterdam. Later he moved to training in medical microbiology and especially in clinical virology. He continued his career in public health and clinical virology, and defended his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Amsterdam: Heterosexual transmission of virus infections. He is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Virology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Ton van Helvoort studied chemistry with biology (B.Sc.) and biochemistry with anorganic chemistry (M.Sc.) at the University of Nijmegen. He earned his Ph.D. within a project 'History of virus studies in the 20th century' at the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg, Maastricht. He defended his thesis Research Styles in Virus Studies in the Twentieth Century: Controversies and the Formation of Consensus, in 1993. As independent scientific writer he is specialized in the history of (bio)chemistry, virology, cancer, nutrition, chemical industry and instrumental methods.
Neeraja Sankaran has enjoyed a peripatetic career both geographically and in terms of academic disciplines having begun her studies in microbiology, in India (BSc (Hons), 1986) Punjab University, and Canada (MSc, 1990), then meandering over to California where she got a Graduate Certificate in Science Writing (1993), before eventually getting her doctorate in the history of science from Yale University in 2006. Broadly speaking, she is a historian of recent and contemporary biology and medical science. She currently works as independent scholar in the history of science and medicine and a freelance science writer and editor.