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Saranac Lab is officially a ‘Milestone in Microbiology’

From left, Trudeau Institute researcher Brian Weinrick, microbiology and immunology scientist Bill Jacobs, Historic Saranac Lake Executive Director Amy Catania and Trudeau Institute President Atsuo Kuki pose at a “Milestone in Microbiology” ceremony Friday at the Saranac Laboratory Museum. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)
Trudeau Institute President Atsuo Kuki speaks at the Hotel Saranac Friday during a “Milestone in Microbiology” award ceremony for the Saranac Laboratory Museum from the American Society for Microbiology. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Laboratory Museum received a “Milestone in Microbiology” recognition from the American Society for Microbiology at an awards ceremony Friday.

The museum is one of 17 sites in the country to receive this award. Inside the museum — sharing space with microscopes, Erlenmeyer flasks and Trudeau’s bed — is now a plaque from the American Society for Microbiology.

Now a museum, the Saranac Laboratory was the first lab built in the U.S. for researching tuberculosis. It was established by Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau in 1894. For decades, patients with TB, or the so-called “white plague,” became residents of the sanatorium Trudeau established or of cure cottages throughout the village, where they would sit on porches or take horse-drawn carriage rides, breathing in the fresh and soothing Adirondack air.

After antibiotics became a successful means to treat TB, cure cottages and the sanatorium were no longer necessary, but the research of tuberculosis continued with the Trudeau Institute.

“In groundbreaking experiments, Trudeau established both the bacterial pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the environment have roles in the development of TB,” the new plaque reads. “With this new knowledge, Trudeau pioneered the American Sanatorium Model as an effective means to manage the disease. The Village of Saranac Lake became a center for patients of all economic and social classes seeking state-of-the-art TB Treatment.”

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