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Dr Baruch Blumberg
Birth: Jul. 28, 1925
Brooklyn
Kings County (Brooklyn)
New York, USA
Death: Apr. 5, 2011
Sunnyvale
Santa Clara County
California, USA

Nobel Prize-Winning Physician. He was honored in 1976 for his discovery of the virus which causes Hepatitis B. The child of an attorney, he attended a local Yeshiva prior to graduating from Far Rocakway High School. Blumberg joined the US Navy in 1943, served as a deck officer aboard landing craft, and in 1945 earned a degree in physics from Union College of Schenectady, New York; maintaining his interest in the sea after leaving the Navy in 1946 he worked as a merchant seaman and in later years as a ship's surgeon. Attending Columbia University he originally studied mathematics but switched to medicine and received his M.D. in 1951. After remaining at Columbia for internship and residency he attended Balliol College, Oxford, from which he received a 1957 Ph.D. in biochemistry. Dr. Blumberg worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) between 1957 and 1964 and in the late 1950s began a study of blood samples from divergent populations in an attempt to discover the basis of differing disease resistance among ethnic groups; by accident he found that a particle isolated from the blood of an Australian aborigine underwent an antigen-antibody reaction with serum from an American haemophiliac; three years later a patient who had previously been negative for the particle, which he called the "Australian Antigen", tested positive shortly before becoming ill with Hepatitis B. He postulated that the antigen which exists on the viral surface (thus the particle's other name: "Hepatitis B Surface Antigen") is in fact the etiologic agent of Hepatitis B, a leading cause of death from fulminant acute hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, hepatic cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Acceptance of Dr. Blumberg's evidence was slow as the "Annals of Internal Medicine" rejected a 1967 article describing his findings while numerous researchers who had spent fruitless years studying hepatitis were resistant. Eventually, however, his work led to a test for Hepatitis B which vastly increased the safety of transfused blood, and later to a vaccine which prevents the infection. In 1976 Dr. Blumberg shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine with Dr. Carleton Gajdusek who had independently made essentially the same discoveries. Dr. Blumberg never retired; associated with Philadelphia's Fox Chase Cancer Center from 1964 to the end of his life, he joined the faculty of Balliol College in 1983 and became Master of the school in 1988 while holding a simultaneous professorship at the University of Pennsylvania. A member of the Philadelphia-based American Philosophical Society from 1986 on he was its President from 2005 to the end of his life, sharing that honor with a distinguished list of men of science which includes Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Always looking for new fields of study, he was founding director of the NASA Astrobiology Research Center from 1999 until 2002 and remained associated with the group until his death from a heart attack while working on a NASA project. In 2002 he published "Hepatitis B: The Hunt for a Killer"; at his death the Hepatitis B vaccine remained in routine use as did tests for the virus in donated blood. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Burial:
Antietam Meadows Farms Cemetery
Sharpsburg
Washington County
Maryland, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Apr 06, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 67983712
Dr Baruch Blumberg
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Dr Baruch Blumberg
Added by: Michael I. Chapline
 
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