Hiss, Philip Hanson

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Dates:           b. 1868; 1896 to NYCHD; 1899 to Columbia; d. 1913

Locations:    Temporary Assistant Bacteriologist, New York City Health Department (1896‑); Instructor in Bacteriology (1899‑1904); Adjunct Professor (1904); Full Professor and Executive Officer, Dept. of Bacteriology, Columbia University and College of Physicians and Surgeons (1905‑1913)

Training:      MD College of Physicians and Surgeons

Fields:          medical; public health; immunology; BACT‑NOM

Publications: textbook with Zinsser

SAB Involvement:  Charter SAB member;

 

Notes: 

     While at P & S in the early 1890's, Hiss developed a technique for staining the capsules of pneumococcus, which allowed a differentiation from streptococcus. 


     In the 1890's, Hiss, along with Park, Prudden and Fitzpatrick, published a long series of articles on diphtheria and anti‑toxin.  In the 1900's, Hiss and Wadsworth worked on the differential criteria between streptococcus and pneumococcus, developing a method using a serum with water and polysaccharide insulin, which is fermented by most pneumococci, but not streptococci.  And, in 1902, Hiss presented a paper at the AAPB meeting on the differentiation of colon, typhoid, and allied bacilli.  At the 1903 meeting of the AAPB, Hiss presented a paper on pyogenic cocci.

     At the 1901 meeting of the SAB, Hiss presented "A Contribution to the Physiological Differentiation of Pneumococcus and Streptococcus and to Methods of Staining Capsules."  The paper was not listed in the program, but appears in the published abstracts.  In it, he argues that morphological characteristics were essential as the "usual cultural characters are at the best not diagnostic, and are subject to variations.”

     Hiss was appointed as an instructor when the Dept. of Bacteriology and Immunology was formally recognized in 1900.  In 1905, the Dept. of Bacteriology became independent and Hiss was appointed Director.  He had many outstanding students, including Zinsser and Wadsworth.  Most of Hiss' work was on immunological topics, both humoral and cellular.  According to Gay, "Hiss's own studies in special media adapted to the separation of enteric organisms of the colon‑typhoid‑dysentery group marked the epoch of finer bacterial analysis, by means of metabolic studies," (Gay 1939, 205)  Hiss developed one of the early methods for distinguishing B. typhosus from B. coli, using a semisolid gelatin‑agar medium with glucose.  B. coli fermented the glucose and B. typhosus developed fuzzy threading colonies. 

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