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William H Welch 1919

Research and teaching in immunology and infectious diseases have been integral parts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health since its founding in 1916 by William Henry Welch.

The Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology traces its beginnings to three departments from the School’s early years. William Henry Welch himself chaired the departments of Bacteriology and Immunology—the nation’s first separate department in the field. The Department of Medical Zoology trained many of the country's leading investigators in parasitology and medical entomology.

In 1922, Charles Simon introduced the first course in virology in the School. In 1953, many of the elements from this discipline were combined in the Department of Pathobiology (i.e., the biology of disease) by the distinguished virologist, Frederik Bang. The Department was renamed Immunology and Infectious Diseases in 1982 and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) in 1994.

In 1996, the Department became the W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in honor of W. Harry Feinstone, ScD '39, a retired pharmaceutical researcher and executive from Memphis, Tenn.