Tulane University was founded in part to address yellow fever, a mosquito-borne disease that once plagued New Orleans and is still a risk today.


The Medical College of Louisiana, precursor to Tulane University, combats yellow fever and cholera, raises medical standards and trains physicians when it is founded in New Orleans.


Dr. John Riddell, chair of the medical college’s chemistry department and on the city’s sanitation committee, developed the first binocular microscope that allowed viewing through a single lens. Dr. Riddell used his microscope to test the theory that yellow fever was caused by a blood-borne pathogen, and also conducted what is considered the earliest known study of Cholera.


Dr. Edward H. Barton, a professor who led the Medical College of Louisiana in its ear- lier years, was asked to study the yellow fever epidemic that killed thousands in New Orleans. He was instrumental in establishing the nation’s first health department.


Faculty member Stanford Chaillé and his assistant, medical student Rudolf Matas traveled to Cuba as part of the Yellow Fever Commission, where they conducted microscopic studies of living yellow fever samples that lead to the discovery that the mosquito is the carrier of the dreaded fever.


Roger Post Ames served as a contract surgeon served with Major Walter Reed during the famous yellow fever experimentations in Cuba at Camp Lazear near Columbia barracks outside Havana. He was one of the first doctors that believed yellow fever was not contagious and was transmitted by mosquitoes. He successfully cared for the majority of the yellow fever cases and contracted the disease during his service.