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John A. Kolmer was the fourth president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1917 to 1918. He spent his entire career in Philadelphia, where he taught at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Temple University School of Medicine and served as the director of the Research Institute of Cutaneous Medicine (renamed the Institute of Public Health and Preventive Medicine of Temple University in 1949) for over 20 years.
Kolmer began his medical training at the Medical School of the University of Maryland in 1904 and, after his first year, transferred to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1908. Following internships at St. Vincent’s and St. Agnes hospitals in Philadelphia, Kolmer was a pathologist at the Philadelphia Hospital for Contagious Diseases from 1910 to 1918. Beginning in 1912, he also taught pathology as an instructor at the undergraduate school of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (1912–1914) and as a professor at the Philadelphia Polyclinic and College Graduate School of Medicine (1912–1919). He received his D.P.H. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1914 and was promoted to associate professor of pathology and bacteriology there that same year. Five years later, he became professor of pathology and bacteriology at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine. In 1932, Kolmer joined the faculty of the Temple University School of Medicine as professor of medicine and was placed in charge of the bacteriology and immunology programs. He received a second appointment as professor of medicine in the School of Dentistry at Temple in 1936. From 1934 until his retirement in 1957, he also headed the Research Institute of Cutaneous Medicine, which he established with colleagues shortly after the First World War with the profits they received during the war as the sole suppliers of Salvarsan to the U.S. government. Kolmer became emeritus professor at Temple and emeritus director of the Institute of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in 1957, but he continued his research at the institute until December 11, 1962, when he suffered a fatal heart attack in his office.
Councillor: 1915–1917, 1918–1922
The Journal of Immunology
Board of Editors: 1916–1935
"The Role of Immunity in the Conduct of the Present War," Delivered March 29, 1918
The Journal of Immunology 3, no. 5 (1918): 371–74.