Bruce, David

Famous Microbiologist in History; 1855-1931

From Athlete to Parasitologist

David Bruce was born on May 29, 1855 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Bruce was the son of Scottish immigrants. Him and his family went back to Scotland when he was five years old. He became a professional athlete but at age 17 he got sick with pneumonia. Bruce then decide to study natural history and medicine at the University of Edinburgh. After graduation he met the love of his life and married her in 1883. The couple began a life together in medical science.


After Bruce joined the Army Medical Service, along with his wife, Bruce began a researching. English soldiers, who were assigned to Maltese garrison, were strike with an often-fatal disease known as Malta. When Bruce looked at it under a microscope, he discovered that the disease was cause by micrococcus. In 1905 Bruce scientific group found that the soldiers were contracting Malta from the milk of infected goats. Goat milk was then eliminated from the soldiers diet and the disease was vanished. Soon after the discovery physicians were calling the disease brucellosis in honor to Bruce.

Two-Thirds of Uganda is Killed by "Sleeping Sickness"

In 1903, Bruce, under Castellani's lead, conducted an investigation on "sleeping sickness." Bruce found that this disease was caused by trypanosomes, transmitted by the tsetse fly. Bruce investigated the sleeping sickness for seven years.

Bruce's Contribution to Microbiology

Bruce was known for his investigation on trypanosomiasis and for finding the cause for malta fever.


  • "David Bruce." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.
  • David Bruce." World of Scientific Discovery. Gale, 2006. Biography in Context. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.