Georges-Maurice Halpern, an American physician, researcher, educator and author, is Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Sciences (previously of Pharmaceutical Sciences) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and was member of the directorate of the State Key Laboratory in Modern Chinese Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology in Shenzhen, (SHIP, PMMD www.pearlsz.com), China [2004-2011].
He was born a French citizen, in Warsaw, Poland, on September 7th, 1935. His father was Bernard N. Halpern (1904-1978), a famous physician, pharmacologist, allergist, immunologist and educator; his mother, Renée (1909-2008) was a well-known painter. Georges left Poland for Paris, France, in 1936. In December 1942, due to the racial laws of the French Vichy régime, and the imminent threat of annihilation in Nazi camps, the family –Bernard, Renée, Georges and Françoise (b. 1937) – crossed into Switzerland, and were interned in refugees camps for over a year. They returned to Paris, France on January 3rd, 1945.
He attended the Lycée Henri IV, the most prestigious high-school in Paris, apprenticed as a cook in several restaurants (1951-1953), and obtained his French baccalaureate, summa cum laude, in June 1953. He then moved to North America where he interned as simultaneous translator at the Security Council of the United Nations in New York, and served as occasional jazz disc jockey at the Voice of America, WNEW New York and WSRS Cleveland, Ohio. He returned to Paris in November 1953, and entered the Faculty of Sciences as pre-med (1953-1954), then the Faculty of Medicine (1954-1959). He served as chief resident in psychiatry (Maison Blanche, 1957-1960), several hospitals of the Assistance Publique of Paris (1961-1962) and the anti-cancer center René Huguenin (1962-1964). In 1962 he was granted a M.Sc. from the Faculty of Medicine for his work and dissertation on Group toxicity in male albino rats: role of noise, amphetamines, and their combination. In 1964, he received his M.D. degree, and was awarded a Silver Medal for his thesis on the Histamine-releasing properties of Colistin.
He subsequently qualified in Nuclear Medicine (1963-1964), and was board certified in General Medicine (1992), Internal Medicine (1973), and Allergy & Clinical Immunology (1976).
In 1960-1962 he obtained a degree in General, and Comparative Psychophysiology from the Faculty of Sciences (Sorbonne).
In 1992, he received his Ph.D./D.Sc. degree, with highest honors and jury honors, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Paris XI (Paris Sud-Chatenay Malabry), for his thesis on Skin hyperreactivity and Histamine.
Georges M. Halpern practiced internal medicine, allergy/immunology in Paris, France (1964-1987), and conducted research in allergy, immunology, psychopharmacology, nutrition, and public health. He was Clinical Assistant Professor, Gamma encephalography and Ultrasonography, Department of Radiology, Hospital de la Pitié, Paris (1963-1965); Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Internal Medicine and Allergy, Foundation A. de Rothschild, Paris (1964-1966); Chief, Unit of Research on Lymphocyte Transformation, Institute d’Immunobiologie, INSERM-CNRS, Hospital Broussais, Paris (1966-1969); Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Allergy, Hospital Broussais, Paris (1971); and Professor of Immunology, Ecole d’Anthropologie, University René Descartes, Paris (1975-1977).
From 1964 until present, Georges Halpern has been an indefatigable lecturer and educator in allergy and control of environment, immunology, infectious diseases, nutrition, health benefits of wine, psychopharmacology, psychosocial interactions, and many other fields related to well-being and healthcare. He has worked in 143 countries, many of them torn by war, civil or religious conflicts, dire poverty, and political corruption.
Starting in 1969, he promoted the reasonable usage of in vitro tests for the determination of serum IgE for safe diagnosis of allergies. This resulted in numerous invitations from American universities, and finally a sabbatical sojourn at the Children’s Hospital of Stanford University (1981-1983) where he served as Research Scholar and visiting professor in the Division of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, developed (1983) and patented (1985) a rapid, simple and inexpensive test for IgE and IgG4 (fluoro-allergosorbent test, FAST® commercialized by Allergenetics and 3M Diagnostic Systems). He then was Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of California Davis, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Clinical Immunology (1983-1997), and later jointly Professor of Nutrition, College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences (1994-1997).
Since 1969, Georges Halpern has been a regular lecturer and teacher in Hong Kong. In 1990-1991 he spent a very productive sabbatical in the Department of Pathology, Queen Mary Hospital, University of Hong Kong (HKU). He kept his Honorary Professorship and returned to conduct courses and seminars. In 1998, the then vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong recruited Georges Halpern to help set up a new School of Chinese Medicine based on the university’s science-based approach. But political local disputes affecting the vice-chancellor impaired the outcome, and Georges Halpern joined the Department of Pharmacology during his last term at HKU in 2002-2003.
After running a seminar for the Chinese Academy of Sciences in November 2002, Georges Halpern was offered a Distinguished Professorship by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology (ABCT). Since the fall of 2003, he enjoys this position, and serves conjointly with the Food Safety & Technology Research Centre in Shenzhen, China.
Besides these medical and academic commitments, he serves regularly as physician-on-board ships (volunteer work) in French Polynesia, and Antarctica. Since 1994, he serves as Director of International Medical Affairs for the Academy of International Medical Studies (AIMS), an organization that promotes American physicians as “goodwill ambassadors” to foreign countries.
He has organized numerous congresses and symposia, including recent ones on functional foods at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University www.polyu.edu.hk/ffs (2005: The Future of Asian Health; 2006: Nutrigenomics; 2008: Health Benefits of Plant Polyphenols; 2009: New Horizons in Chinese Medicine & Health Foods; 2011: Promoting Good Health & Developing a Sustainable Environment; 2012: Food for Asian Health).
Georges Halpern was a medical anchor on French radio (1959-1986) and Antenne 2 TV channel (1974); he was the spokesperson to the media for the School of Medicine of the University of California Davis (1988-1997). Since 1997, he has been a regular guest of radio talk shows on a number of health-related topics.
He has also been, and remains very active as a consultant for governmental, national and international agencies, in public health issues, infectious diseases, asthma and allergic conditions. He also actively consults with pharmaceutical, diagnostic, nutraceutical companies, as well as for the food, wine, and water industries. He sits on the scientific advisory board of a number of successful companies.
He has received awards from U.S.A., France, Czechoslovakia, Korea, Madagascar, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore and Venezuela. In 1985, he received the Medal of Vermeil from the City of Paris (France) for his outstanding contributions to medicine, dedication to patients, and personal achievements.
He is a Fellow of many scientific societies, including the Royal Society of Medicine (London), and a corresponding member of the Colombian Academy of Medicine.
He founded Allergie & Immunologie and is editor of 9 international journals. He has been a mentor, supervisor or jury member for >100 graduate students and MDs in France, the United States, Romania, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and China.
Georges Halpern research interests are many, and some of his contributions have changed aspects of nutrition (role of yogurt and probiotics on the immune response, on irritable bowel syndrome, as source of calcium, and help for weight control; selenium content of different breads; Poilâne bread and magnesium homeostasis and essential polyunsaturated fatty acids vs. industrial bread; calcium from mineral waters in lactose-intolerant Asian subjects; anti-inflammatory effects of the oil of New Zealand green-lipped mussels), diagnostic (FAST®; AlaSTAT) and treatment of allergies (dexchlorpheniramine; mequitazine, beclomethasone, cetirizine, loratadine, traditional Chinese medicines), problems with silicone gel breast implants, psychopharmacology (methylparafynol carbamate, clofenetamine), drugs derived from natural sources (Ginkgo biloba, Cordyceps sinensis and other medicinal mushrooms, Monascus purpureus, Spirulina sulfolipids, Radix Puerariae, Zinc-carnosine, polyphenols of wine and tea), and the critical positive role of Pleasure on physiological balance and control of the immune response. He is also a Commander (the highest rank) in the French National Order of the Mérite Agricole, for his original contributions to enology and French cuisine.
He has published around 330 papers, and has authored, co-authored or edited 24 books(Refs).
Georges Halpern, a U.S. and French citizen, resides in Portola Valley, California; he is married to Emiko Oguiss and has two daughters: Emmanuelle (b. 1971) and Emilie (b. 1976). Whenever he visits a hospital, a university campus, a refugee camp or the headquarters of a Fortune-500 pharmaceutical company, you can ask him about a great restaurant of the area and wines to match the food. And if you are very lucky he will cook for you a Michelin-starred dinner.
References (limited list as of 2012):
Books: L’Allergie et la Peau. Robert Laffont, Paris. 190pp (1976); L’allergia e la pelle. Rizzoli, Milano. 134pp (1977); Allergies. France Loisirs, Paris. 128pp (1984); Bronchial Asthma: Principles of diagnosis and treatment (with M.E. Gershwin, Eds). The Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. 782pp (1995); Ginkgo: A practical Guide. Avery Publishing Group, Garden City Park, NY. 172pp (1998); Cordyceps: China’s Healing Mushroom. Avery Publishing Group, Garden City Park, NY. 116pp (1999); Lyprinol: A Natural Solution for Arthritis and Other Inflammatory Disorders. Avery/Penguin Putnam, New York, NY. 148pp (2001); Medicinal Mushrooms: Ancient Remedies for Modern Ailments (With A.H. Miller). M. Evans & Co., New York, NY. 208pp (2002); The Healing Trail: Essential Oils of Madagascar (with P. Weverka). Basic Health Publications, North Bergen, NJ. 208pp (2003); Ulcer Free! SquareOne Publishers, Garden City Park, NY. 2006pp (2004); Zinc-Carnosine: Nature’s safe and effective remedy for ulcers. SquareOne Publishers, Garden City Park, NY. 42pp (2005); The Inflammation Revolution. SquareOne Publishers, Garden City Park, NY. 144pp (2005); Healing Mushrooms. SquareOne Publishers, Garden City Park, NY. 200pp (2006); The Yin and Yang of Cancer (With B. Chan). SquareOne Publishers, Garden City Park, NY. 233pp. (2007); A Short Guide to the Best Healing Mushrooms, PolyArt, Hong Kong. (2008).
Book Chapters: L’allergie en gynécologie, p. 6-9. In: H. Rozenbaum (Ed.), Dictionnaire de Gynécologie, Masson, Paris (1981) ; Comparison between Radio Immunoassay (RIA) and Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) for the Determination of Serum Total IgE and IgE Antibodies (with A. Bedossa and C. Lévy), p. 137-138. In: J. Ring and G. Burg (Eds.), New Trends in Allergy, Springer-Verlag Publ., Berlin (1981) ; Diagnostic in vitro techniques, p. 753. Advances in allergology and applied immunology, Pergamon Press, London (1981); Conduites sexuelles au cours de certaines affections chroniques. Le point de vue de l’immunologiste clinicien (I). Le point de vue de l’immunologiste clinicien (II), p. 69-85. In: Robert Gellman (Ed.), Actualités Sexologiques, 2nd Séries. Conduites Sexuelles, Masson, Paris (1981) ; Diagnostic in food allergy, p. 19-30. In: C. Zanussi, C. Ortolani and P.Torzuoli (Eds.), Food Allergy, Masson, Italia (1982) ; Enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) for honey bee venom specific IgG4 (with R.B. Moss, Y.P. Hsu and J. Blessing-Moore), p. 395-401. In: S. Avrameas, P. Druet, R. Masseyeff and G. Feldmann (Eds.), Developments in Immunology, Immunoenzymatic Techniques, Vol. 18, Elsevier, Amsterdam (1983); Allergie et Hypersensibilité, p. 925-936. Encyclopaedia Universalis, Paris, France (1985) ; Stress et Immunologie, pp. 117-119. Les thérapeutiques du stress. Les Entretiens de Monaco. Ed. du Rocher, Monaco(1988) ; Of hornet, roses and other feathers, pp. 38-47. In: Robert Black College, Silver Jubilee Issue. University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (1992); Sinusitis and asthma: associations, influences and principles of management (with G. Incaudo). In: G.A. Incaudo and M.E. Gershwin (Eds.). Diseases of the Sinuses. Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey, pp.323-338 (1996); The Case for Pleasure. In: P.C.P Ng, W.W.H. Ho & S.X.L Wong [Eds]. The Century Premier Journal. Robert Black College. University of Hong Kong Press, Hong Kong, 10-19 (2002); A propos de la Supplique au Pape. In : Lionel Poilâne et ses amis. Supplique au Pape pour enlever la gourmandise de la liste des péchés capitaux. Anne Carrière, Paris ; 93-98(2004); Peptic ulcer and Helicobacter pylori. In: I. Kohlstadt (Ed.). Food and Nutrients in Disease Management, 2nd edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 235-249 (2012). Fungal β-glucans. McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology 2013. McGraw-Hill, New York, 170-1.7
Original Articles Published in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journals: Clinical significance of serum IgE determination. Annals of Allergy 1974;33(2):67-71; Detection of anti-Synacthen antibodies. Allergologie 1980 ;3,5:256-258 ; Nonreaginic anaphylactic and/or blocking antibodies: introduction. Clinical Reviews in Allergy 1983;1(2):179-181; IgE fluoroallergosorbent (IgE FAST) Test: Concept and Clinical Application (with Y.G. Tsay). Immunology and Allergy Practice 1984;6,5:169-174; The effect of white wine upon pulmonary function of asthmatic subjects (with M.E. Gershwin, C. Ough, M.P. Fletcher, S.M. Nagy, Jr) Annals of Allergy 1985;55(5):686-690; Non-IgE antibody mediated mechanisms in food allergy (with J.R. Scott). Annals of Allergy 1987;58,l:14-27; Evaluations of in vitro IgE testing to diagnose atopic diseases. Clinical Reviews in Allergy 1989;7:23-48; Diagnosis of inhalant allergy in a chimpanzee using in vivo and in vitro tests (.with L.J. Gershwin, G. Gonzales and M.E. Fowler). Allergologia et Immunopathologia 1989 ;17:271-276; IgG4 antibodies and their role in asthmatic patients. Journal of Asthma 1989;26:345-348; Effects of low concentrations of arachidonic acid derived mediators on the membrane potential and respiratory burst responses of human neutrophils as assessed by flow cytometry (with M.P. Fletcher). Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology 1990;4:65-77; Chronic urticaria (with B.A. Burrall and A.C. Huntley). The Western Journal of Medicine 1990;152:268-275; Influence of long-term yogurt consumption in young adults (with K.G. Vruwink, J. Van de Water, C.L. Keen and M.E. Gershwin). International Journal of Immunotherapy, 1991;7:205-210; Comparative uptake of calcium from milk and a calcium-rich mineral water in lactose-intolerant adult subjects: implications for the treatment of osteoporosis (with J. Van de Water, A.M. Delabroise, C.L. Keen and M.E. Gershwin). American Journal of Preventive Medicine 1991;7:379-383; IgG4-anti-IgE antibodies in Chinese allergic children (with C.C. Chang, A.Y. Tam, Y.L. Lau and C.Y. Yeung). Allergologia et Immunopathologia 1992 ;20:113-118; Critical evaluation of the clinical relevance of the IgG subclasses assays. Allergie & Immunologie 1993 ;25:10-18; Food specific IgE antibodies: a comparative study of AlaSTAT and Pharmacia CAP systems in 49 patients with food allergies (with D.A. Moneret-Vautrin, J.J. Brignon, J.P. Nicolas and G. Kenny). Annals of Allergy 1993;7:107-114; The influence of chronic yogurt consumption on populations of young and elderly adults (with C.L. Trapp, C.C. Chang, C.L. Keen and M.E. Gershwin). International Journal of Immunotherapy 1993;9:53-64; Asthma mortality: another opinion—is it a matter of life and … bread? (with C.C. Chang, S.D. Phinney and M.E. Gershwin). Journal of Asthma 1993;30:93-103; Cefadroxil reduces the production of IgE in a 3 year old asthmatic with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (with A.T.S. Tang, Y.L. Lau, B. Jones and C.Y. Yeung). Allergologia et Immunopathologia 1993 ;21:131-135; Evaluation of selenium content of French wheat flours and breads with PIXE technique (with K. Olin, M. Simonoff, G. Simonoff, and L. Poilâne). Trace Elements and Electrolytes 1994;11:121-124; Treatment of the irritable bowel syndrome with Lactéol Fort: a randomized double-bind cross-over trial (with T. Prindiville, M. Blankenburg, T. Hsia and M.E. Gershwin). The American Journal of Gastroenterology 1996;91:1579-1585; Serum silicon levels are elevated in women with silicone gel breast implants (with S.S. Teuber, R.L. Saunders, R.F. Brucker, V. Conte, B.D. Goldman, E.E. Winger, W.G. Wood and M.E. Gershwin). Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 1996;210:59-65; Modification of human LDL by in vitro incubation with cigarette smoke or copper ions: implications for asthma, allergies and atherosclerosis (with K.G. Vruwink, M.E. Gershwin, P.P. Sachet, and P.A. Davis). Journal of Investigative Allergology and Clinical Immunology 1996;6: 294-300; Anti-inflammatory effects of a stabilized lipid extract of Perna canaliculus (Lyprinol™). Allergie & Immunologie 2000;32:272-278; Gustatory evaluation of still and carbonated waters: a preference rating study (with D.Y.T. Fong and V. Wan). Journal of Medicinal Foods 2001;4:161-170; COX-2 inhibitors: a story of greed, deception and death. Inflammopharmacology 2005;13(4):419-425; Increased divalent metal transporter 1 expression might be associated with the neurotoxicity of L-DOPA (with Chang YZ, Y Ke, J-R Du,K-P Ho, Li Zhu, X-S Gu, Y-J Xu, Q Wang, L-Z Li, C-Y Wang, Z-M Qian).. Molecular Pharmacology 2006;69(3):968-974.; Nutritional profiles in a public health perspective: a critical review (with Foltran F., E. Verduci, M. Ghidina, C. Campoy, K-D, Jany, G. Biascussi, C. Vögele, D. Gregori). Journal of International Medical Research. 2010; 38:318-385; A genetic perspective in Nutritional Profiles: do we still need them? (with Gregori, D., F. Foltran, E. Verduci, S. Ballali, L. Franchin, M. Ghidina, M. Giovannini). Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics 2011;4:25-35; “We only eat what we like” –or do we still? Flavour 2012;1:17.