University of California: In Memoriam, 1986

Abraham Isaac Braude, Medicine; Pathology: San Diego


Abraham Isaac Braude was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 15, 1917, and died on December 5, 1984. He is survived by his wife, Gita, two daughters, Claire Braude and Katie Braude Rothbard, and two grandchildren, Ben and Lisa Rothbard.

Abe Braude received his B.S. and M.D. degrees from the University of Chicago in 1937 and 1940 and completed his internship in 1941 at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He entered the medical corps of the U.S. Army shortly before World War II. At this time he met and married Gita Siegel. During tours of duty in Puerto Rico and Burma, Braude became fascinated with the pathogenesis of infectious disease and decided to make it the focus of his career.

After the war, Abe spent the next five years with Wesley Spink at the University of Minnesota, completing his training in internal medicine and infectious diseases and obtaining his Ph.D. Although Spink was already the authority on brucellosis in the United States, the laboratory exploded into further prominence after Braude's arrival. Braude, Spink, and their colleagues discovered the value of tetracycline analogues in the treatment of brucellosis, the dangers of the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction during treatment, and the role of the granuloma in the pathogenesis and immunology of brucellosis.

In 1950, Braude left Minnesota to become assistant professor of medicine and director of the microbiology laboratory at the University of Michigan. This period from 1950 to 1953 was critical to Braude's career. During these years, Braude realized the importance of the microbiology laboratory not only in patient management, but also in physician education. He became convinced that infectious disease clinicians must not only be excellent microbiologists, but also exercise technical and administrative control of the diagnostic microbiology laboratory. He demonstrated and taught this principle of medical practice and education for the next 35 years as director of diagnostic microbiology and chief of infectious diseases at the Southwestern

Medical School of the University of Texas from 1953-57, at the University of Pittsburgh from 1957 to 1969, and at the University of California at San Diego from 1967 until his death in December, 1984.

It was also at Ann Arbor that Braude began his life-long study of the role of endotoxin Gram negative bacteria in septic shock. He discovered that the endotoxin of cold-growing bacteria that had contaminated refrigerated blood could cause vascular collapse and death of transfused people without bacterial multiplication in the body. This observation established the importance of endotoxin as the major virulence factor of Gram negative bacteria and set the stage for his later fundamental and applied research on the pathogenesis and treatment of life-threatening septic shock.

During his years in Dallas, Pittsburgh, and San Diego, Braude made outstanding research contributions in three areas, anaerobic infections, pyelonephritis, and the endotoxin shock of Gram negative bacteremia. He devised a simple, effective method for culturing fastidious anaerobes, discovered Bacteroides penicillinase, and proved that so-called “sterile” brain abscesses are caused by anaerobes. His landmark papers on brain infections and sinusitis awakened us to the major role of anaerobes in infectious disease. His work on pyelonephritis ranged from devising realistic models of infection to elegant studies that helped explain the inadequacies of the immune responses of the kidney. For example, he showed that the leukocytes attracted to the infected kidney suppressed the immune response and caused major damage. In his further work on the pathogenesis and management of endotoxin shock, Braude devised a stable mutant of E. coli that stimulates an antibody that reacts with the endotoxin of all Gram negative bacteria. In a landmark study of infected people, Braude then showed that passive immunization with this mutant neutralized the manifestations of endotoxemia and reduced the mortality of these life-threatening infections by half. Just before his death, he developed a human hybridoma antibody against this mutant that is even more potent at immunoprophylaxis of experimental animals. His colleagues are continuing this important work and will soon implement clinical trials of this monoclonal antibody in patients.

Abe Braude was also an outstanding clinician and teacher. He brought his knowledge of basic science and diagnostic microbiology to the bedside and used clinical observations to direct and sharpen the focus of the laboratory. His teaching was enriched by an encyclopedic knowledge of microbiology and infectious diseases and an acerbic wit. Although he demanded that his students have a rigorous approach to medicine, microbiology, and research, he thoroughly enjoyed each and transmitted the excitement and fun of academic endeavors to his students. He taught generations of physicians to think clearly, ask intelligent questions, and apply their knowledge of microbiology to meaningful laboratory investigations and to the diagnosis and treatment of patients. A second edition of his successful textbook,

Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, was published shortly after his death.

Abe's contributions to medicine were recognized by many awards. The Kaiser Award for teaching in the preclinical sciences at UCSD, a Macy Faculty Scholar award, the Maxwell Finland Award of the Infectious Diseases Society for research and teaching, and the Presidency of the Infectious Diseases Society were among his many honors. After his death, his family, friends, and colleagues established a fund for the Abraham I. Braude Visiting Professorship at the University of California, San Diego.

Welch, speaking at the dedication of the new Harvard Medical School in 1906, said that creative minds with research talent were much more valuable than stately buildings. “Search for them far and wide... cherish them as a possession beyond all price.” Our late, esteemed colleague, A. I. Braude, fit Welch's description perfectly. We miss him sorely.

Charles E. Davis Joshua Fierer Samuel I. Rapaport

About this text
Courtesy of University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000;
Title: 1986, University of California: In Memoriam
By:  University of California (System) Academic Senate, Author
Date: 1986
Contributing Institution:  University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000;
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