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Fellows Directory

Stanley Falkow

Stanley Falkow

Professor Stanley Falkow ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2007


Stanley Falkow was an American microbiologist referred to as the ‘father’ of molecular microbial pathogenesis — how bacteria and host cells interact at a molecular level to cause disease. Stanley shaped the modern study of bacterial infection and contributed immeasurably to our understanding of infectious diseases.

One of Stanley’s first major discoveries was that small microbial DNA molecules, called plasmids, can contain genes that confer bacterial resistance to antibiotics. He was the first to use molecular techniques to explore how bacteria cause disease, and developed a framework called ‘molecular Koch’s postulates’ that continues to guide microbiological investigations of disease the world over.

His pioneering approach paved the way for the development of new vaccines, including for whooping cough. Stanley’s exceptional mentorship produced many leading microbiologists. In 2008, Stanley’s career-long contribution was recognised by receipt of the Lasker–Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science.

Professor Stanley Falkow ForMemRS died on 5 May 2018.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Molecular microbiology
  • Health and human sciences
    • Medical microbiology


Medical microbiology, Infectious diseases

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