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Gerald Domingue

  Dr. Gerald Domingue (born March 2, 1937) is an American medical researcher (bacteriology, immunology, experimental urology) and academic who served as Professor of Urology, Microbiology and Immunology in the Tulane University School of Medicine and Graduate School for thirty years and also as Director of Research in Urology. He is currently retired and resides in Zurich, Switzerland, where he is engaged in painting and creative writing. At retirement he was honored with the title of Professor Emeritus at Tulane (1967-1997). Prior to Tulane, he served on the faculty of St. Louis University (school of medicine); was a lecturer at Washington University (school of dentistry) and director of clinical microbiology in St. Louis City Hospital (Snodgrass Laboratory of Pathology and Bacteriology), St. Louis, Missouri.

Over the course of his thirty-nine year career, Domingue received funding from the National Institutes of Health, Veterans Administration, and a variety of national and international research foundations; served on grant review committees of these agencies as well as consultant to various journal review boards. He also served as clinical microbiology and research consultant to hospital clinical laboratories and to industry. He enjoys international recognition as an authority on the basic biology and medical significance of atypical bacterial organisms and is considered an expert on the role of these bacteria in the persistence and expression of kidney and urological infectious diseases.

Domingue was named a Fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology (1973) and a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (1975).[1][2].In 1995, he received the prestigious Palmes Academiques Medal (Chevalier) from the country of France.


Education and early work

Domingue was born in 1937 in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was educated at Southwestern Louisiana Institute (presently University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA), receiving the Bachelor of Science degree in three years (bacteriology with minors in chemistry and French); matriculating to graduate school at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (presently University of Louisiana at Lafayette)(graduate courses in bacteriology, atomic physics and advanced qualitative organic chemistry; served as instructor of laboratory courses in bacteriology and immunology in university); Louisiana State University(basic medical sciences) and Tulane University where he earned the doctorate (1964); holds the Ph.D. degree in medical microbiology and immunology; followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship in microbiology/infectious diseases and a residency in clinical microbiology under the mentorship of the late distinguished bacteriologist/immunologist, Erwin Neter at The Children's Hospital of the State University of New York, Buffalo, New York.

He first became interested in the role of atypical bacterial forms after noting that a large number of patients with urinary tract infections suffer from continual relapsing illness. Using a direct phase microscope, he examined the urine specimens of several patients with urinary tract infections and found L-form bacteria in his samples.

He began to investigate L-form bacteria, striving to better understand their biology and the role they play in causing disease. Over the course of the next 30 years, he was able to explain much of the mystery behind how the bacteria are able to persist in the body, and published a wide array of clinical and experimental studies on the subject.

L-form bacteria – electron dense bodies

Domingue worked with a team that included pre and post-doctoral students and fellows along with faculty colleagues and laboratory assistants. Together they discovered that L-form bacteria are able to form tiny dense bodies within parent cells that already lack cell walls. They noted that the forms, which they called electron dense bodies were so small that they could pass through bacterial filters that normally withheld ordinary bacteria with cell walls.

The electron dense bodies could persist inside tissue culture cells in the laboratory. After applying this data to the human condition, Domingue reasoned that in some patients who suffer from chronic bacterial infections, the disease process could be related to the fact that bacteria are able to differentiate into the resistant electron dense bodies that he observed in tissue cultures.

Significant papers

In 1974, he and his graduate student, Mary Green, along with Paul Heidger, a faculty collaborator, published two landmark companion papers in the journal Infection and Immunity.[3][4] The papers detail how L-form bacteria inside an experimental human embryonic kidney tissue culture system are able to persist in cells and explains how they are able to revert into the cell wall-containing parent bacterial form. They also proposed a detailed reproductive cycle for L-form bacteria, followed by electron microscopy of the microorganisms.

These papers set the stage for Domingue and his team to delve even further into the role that cryptic atypical bacteria play in causing persistent and recurrent infections. In 1997, he and a colleague, the late Hannah Woody published an invited extensive review article on chronic bacterial infection in Clinical Microbiological Reviews[5]. Among their conclusions was the claim that "difficult to culture and dormant bacteria are involved in the latency of infection and that these persistent bacteria may be pathogenic." He implicated L-form bacteria in several kidney-related diseases including pyelonephritis[6][7], glomerulonephritis, idiopathic hematuria[8], and interstitial cystitis[9]. He also speculated about their role in other diseases such as rheumatic fever, tuberculosis, syphilis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

In the review Domingue stated, "Clearly, any patient with a history of recurrent infection and persistent disability is sending the signal that the phenomenon (infection with L-form bacteria) could be occurring. The so-called autoimmune diseases in which no organism can be identified by routine testing techniques are particularly suspect." He went on to conclude, "Bacteriologic advances, which include special culture media and stains, electron microscopy and molecular techniques such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction), have revealed an increasing number of previously unidentifiable organisms in a variety of pathologic conditions. It is unwise to dismiss the pathogenic capacities of any microbe in a patient with a mysterious disease." Over the course of his thirty-nine year career Domingue published 160 papers, monographs, and book chapters; 65 devoted to L-form research. He was invited to deliver over fifty international and national lectures about L-form bacteria and wrote a book on the subject, Cell Wall-Deficient Bacteria: Basic Principles and Clinical Significance[10]. His papers are filled with photos of cultures of L-form bacteria taken with an electron microscope. They show the microbes inside human and animal cells.

Other research

Although Domingue’s primary research focus was on bacterial L-forms, he also published extensively on the biological significance of the enterobacterial common antigen of gram negative bacteria – it’s antigenicity, immunogenicity, and vaccine potential against urinary tract infections.[11][12] He studied the immunological consequences of a vasectomy, as well as the role of various gram negative pathogens in the host-pathogen interaction in pyelonephritis, and the effects of antibiotics and chemotherapy on urinary tract infections.[13][14] He also published microbiological and immunological studies on bacteria that produce chorionic gonadotropin-like hormone and their role in an experimental tumor model. [15] He was even the co-author of a publication that characterized the oral microbial flora of alligators in order to develop better therapy for alligator bites.

Art, poetry, and writing

Since retiring in 1997, Domingue is engaged in fulltime painting and writing, activities that he has avidly pursued since the age of nine. Domingue was born and raised in rural, Acadian Louisiana which some credit as an inspiration for his creative work. An abstract naturalist-expressionist, Domingue's style of painting is dominated by movement and three-dimensional form.

According to Ignaz Furger the Owner-Director JIF Arts in Zurich, Switzerland, “As an abstract expressionist, Domingue has developed his own unique style which excels in the dynamics of movement in illusional - dimensional form, particularly as this motion relates to biological life. His paintings demonstrate a keen sense of curiosity, intuition, and observation, qualities which are necessary for success and happiness in science and painting.[16]

The Agora Gallery of New York City posted the following in a review: “Impressively accomplished in both the sciences and the arts, Gerald Domingue's simultaneous careers in medicine and painting reveal him to be a truly extraordinary Renaissance man of the modern world.”

Since 2000, his work has been widely shown in invited solo exhibitions in Zurich, Vals, St. Gallen, Switzerland and in Paris, France. In 2001, he was the honored foreign invitee for "LA PALETTE EUROPEENE" in Craponne (Lyon), France. His paintings are exhibited internationally in Zurich, Paris, New York and New Orleans; and are part of private collections in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.

Domingue is also a poet and a member of the American Academy of Poets. In 2006, he published three volumes on the lives and genealogy of his maternal and paternal grandparents - Memories of a Grandson: Echoes and Footprints of Pioneer Louisiana Spanish-Isleño – French-Acadian Families: Domingue-Prejean-Castille, 375 A.D. – 2006 A.D. Volume I: Ancestors and Descendants of Jean-Jacques Domingue and Andrea Prejean; Volume II: Ancestral—Descendant Lineages and Kinships of Rousseau Prejean and Lorena Castille; Volume III: Spousal Families Associated with Domingue-Prejean-Castille and Lineages Ascending to Charles I dit Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor. Several of his poems have been published; a book of poems: Massaging the Intellect is in press, and expected to be released in 2007. According to Charlene Insley, Director of the Insley Art Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana “Rarely does a person excel to world class levels in what some would consider divergent careers. Gerald Domingue has and we are the beneficiaries of his brilliance.”


  1. ^ Marquis Who's Who, Inc. (2000). Who's who in medicine and healthcare. New Providence NJ: Marquis Who's Who
  2. ^ Marquis Who's Who, Inc. (1993). Who's who in science and engineering. Wilmette, Ill: Marquis Who's Who.
  3. ^ Green, M. T., Heidger, P. M., & Domingue, G. (1974). Proposed reproductive cycle for a relatively stable L-phase variant of Streptococcus faecalis. Infection and immunity, 10(4), 915-27.
  4. ^ Green, M. T., Heidger, P. M., & Domingue, G. (1974). Demonstration of the Phenomena of Microbial Persistence and Reversion with Bacterial L-Forms in Human Embryonic Kidney Cells, Infection and immunity, 10(4): 889–91.
  5. ^ Domingue, G., & Woody, H. (1997). Bacterial persistence and expression of disease. Clin Microbiol Rev, 10(2), 320-344.
  6. ^ Domingue, G. J., & Schlegel, J. U. (1970). The possible role of microbial L-forms in pyelonephritis. The Journal of urology, 104(6), 790-8
  7. ^ Ponig, B., Domingue, G., & Schlegel, J. (1972). The role of in vitro induced microbial L-forms in experimental hematogenous pyelonephritis. Investigative urology, 9(4), 282-5.
  8. ^ Domingue, G. J., & Schlegel, J. U. (1978). Novel bacterial structures in human blood. II. Bacterial variants as etiologic agents in idiopathic hematuria. The Journal of urology, 120(6), 708-11
  9. ^ Domingue, G. J., Ghoniem, G. M., Bost, K. L., Fermin, C., & Human, L. G. (1995). " Dormant microbes in interstitial cystitis. The Journal of urology, 153(4), 1321-6.
  10. ^ Domingue, G. J. (1982). Cell-wall Deficient Bacteria: Basic Principles and Clinical Significance. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
  11. ^ Domingue, G. J. and Neter, Erwin. Opsonizing and Bactericidal Activity of Antibodies Against Common Antigen of Enterobacteriaceae. Journal of Bacteriology, 91:129-133, 1966.
  12. ^ Domingue, G. J. and Johnson, E.J. (1975). The Common Antigen of Enterobacteriaceae and its Biologic Significance. In: The Immune System and Infectious Diseases (Ed. Erwin Neter and Felix Milgrom), p. 242-262.
  13. ^ Kawahara, M., Human, L.G., Winningham, J.S. and Domingue, G.J. (1994). Antibodies to Escherichia coli 06 Porins Cross-React with Urinary Pathogens. Immunobiology, 192:6576.
  14. ^ Domingue, G. J., Roberts, J.A., Laucirica, R., Ratner, M.H., Bell, D.F., Suarez, G.M., Kallenius, G. and Svenson, S. (1985). Pathogenic Significance of P-fimbriated Escherichia coli in Urinary Tract Infections. Journal of Urology, 133:983-989.
  15. ^ Domingue, G. J., Acevedo, H.F., Powell, J.E. and Stevens, V.C. (1986). Antibodies to Bacterial Vaccines Demonstrating Specificity for Human Choriogonadotropin (hCG) and Immunochemical Detection of hCG-Like Factor in Subcellular Fractions, Infection and Immunity 53:95-98.
  16. ^ Furger, J. I. Domingue. Domingue Introduction: American Painter. Retrieved September 1, 2007, from
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gerald_Domingue". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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