Dr. Adler’s Disease Expertise

Stand for Israel  |  March 10, 2021

Dr. Saul Adler, Israeli parasitologist and expert on disease
Dr. Saul Adler, Israeli parasitologist and expert on disease

Born to a Jewish family in 1895 in the Russian Empire, Saul Adler grew up in Leeds, England. There, he studied tropical medicine, and first pursued this interest in disease in the Holy Land, serving in the British military. During his service, Dr. Adler conducted research that helped lead to treatment for malaria.

Disease Expertise in the Holy Land

After his discharge from the Royal Army Medical Corps, Dr. Adler received an offer from Chaim Weizmann, the scientist and Zionist later elected Israel’s first president. Weizmann tasked Adler with starting a new Institute of Microbiology. Dr. Adler made aliyah (immigrated to the Holy Land) in 1924.

In then British-mandate Palestine, he directed Hadassah Hospital’s department of parasitology. He also taught as professor on the subject at Hebrew University. In the 1940s, Dr. Adler helped develop a vaccine for leishmaniasis.

An Israeli You Should Know

And, for all lovers of small animals, Dr. Adler didn’t just pioneer the study of disease. He also directly led to the domestication of the hamster. In 1930, Adler imported three Syrian hamsters for use as laboratory animals, introducing the creature as an adorable and adaptable pet.

Dr. Adler’s many contributions to the study of disease and parasitology earned him many honors in Israel and internationally, including the 1957 Israel Prize in Medicine, an Israeli postage stamp, and a street in Jerusalem named for him.

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