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Rev Med Chil. 2008 Feb;136(2):256-60. doi: /S0034-98872008000200017. Epub 2008 May 7.

[Dr Guillermo Contreras Da Silva, a relevant figure in the development of Chilean microbiology].

[Article in Spanish]

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10895, USA.


The influence of the work of Dr. Guillermo Contreras Da Silva and his colaborators on the evolution of microbiology in Chile is briefly analyzed. Dr. Contreras was trained in modern virology at Yale University with Dr. J. Melnick under the sponsorhip of the Rockefeller Foundation. During this training, he used serological methods to classify Cocksakie viruses. After his return to Chile, he studied the epidemiology of enteroviruses, including poliovirus. His laboratory, the country's first in modern virology, took an active role in Chile's first Sabin polio vaccination in 1961. Dr. Contreras and his group transformed the teaching and the character of microbiology in Chile from a descriptive medically oriented discipline into an autonomous, quantitative and experimental science. They modernized microbiology with the introduction of molecular biology and microbial genetics and fostered collaborations with allied biological sciences. Dr. Contreras was a Guggenheim Fellow, and until his retirement, was the Chief of the Viral Products Division, Bureau of Biologies, Ottawa, Canada.

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