Submitted to: Annual Eastern Fish Health Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/19/2010
Publication Date: 5/24/2010
Citation: Mitchell, A.J. 2010. Dr. Stanislaus F. Snieszko: The man, the scientist, and his legacy [abstract]. Annual Eastern Fish Health Workshop. p.1. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Stanislaus Francis Snieszko (1902-1984), commonly known as “Doc” by his friends and associates, left us more than 25 years ago. Many of today’s fish health professionals know little of “Doc”, and few recognize the legacy he left us. He came to the U.S. from Poland for a few years in the 1920s for education and research purposes, and in 1939, because of the deteriorating political situation across Europe, he moved to the US permanently. “Doc” first worked on lobster disease in Maine before being conscripted into the US military where he became a U.S. citizen and a Captain in the Chemical Corps during WW II. After wartime issues subsided, he became director of the world renowned Eastern Fish Disease Laboratory (now the National Fish Health Research Laboratory) in Leetown, West Virginia, where he hired some of the most influential fish health scientists of the day, including: Drs. Ken Wolf (Virologist), Glenn Hoffman (Parasitologist), Pete Bullock (Bacteriologist) and Robert Putz (Parasitologist turned Bio-politician). “Doc’s” efforts greatly changed the course of fish health in the US. The predominate parasitological view of fish diseases that began in the early nineteenth century, and was held through the mid-1940s, was permanently shifted to encompass other etiological agents and environmental factors. “Doc” pioneered work on the use of antibiotics, promoting an understanding of the interaction of host, pathogen, and environment in the disease process, initiated fish health management and fish health training, and authored more than 200 publications on bacterial diseases and the prevention and control of diseases. He did much to bring about the establishment of the Hatchery Biologist System that served as a model for fish disease diagnostic and certification programs of today and was a major force behind the establishment of the Fish Health Section of the American Fisheries Society in 1972. He was a good, kind, energetic, compassionate teacher, and a man of sterling character who touched the hearts of those who knew him. He loved science, people, animals, gardening, music, laughter, and life itself. His close friends knew him as the “consummate gentleman” and always referred to him as “Doc” - even the PhDs called him “Doc”.