7. Acknowledgements

It was a great honor to participate in the German-Israeli-Palestinian project on the epidemiology of leishmaniasis in Israel and the West Bank. Through a very lucky coincidence I have met Professor Charles Greenblatt, who kindly invited me to join the planned project and to work at the Kuvin Center in Jerusalem. I thank Professor Greenblatt for his generosity and moral support throughout the time.

I am very grateful to Carol Eisenberger for her continous help and support, for her professional advice and friendship. I am very grateful to Lionel Schnur, who has helped cultivating strains and has always been of great support. Very special thanks to Flory Jonas who contributed greatly by collecting the patient samples at the Hadassah Hospital, Ein Karem, Jerusalem. Furthermore, I am very thankful for the excellent cooperation with Gideon Wasserberg (Department of Life Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva), Dr. Eli Schwartz (Tel Hashomer Hospital, Tel Aviv) and Dr. Gad Baneth (Veterinary School, Hebrew Univeristy, Rehovot). The cooperation with these collegues was essential for the collection of many important samples (desert rodents, Israeli travellers with New World infections, dogs).

Without the wonderful help and guidance of Samir Sawalha (Al-Najar University, Nablus) the outbreak of CL in the village of Wadi Albethan in the northern West Bank would not have been studied. I want to thank also Obeida Youssuf and Kefaya Azmi (Alquds University, Jerusalem) for the very pleasant and fruitful team work. At this point I want to appreciate also the extraordinary hospitality of the Palestinian people that I have experienced on all field trips. This applies for many families in the West Bank as well as for our dear collegues Amer Jawabreh (Jericho) and Samir Sawalha (Nablus).

I am very grateful for the Professors of the Kuvin Center who have impressed me with their extraordinary kindness and personal care. The same is true with the students and technicians in the department whose company and friendship I have enjoyed greatly. Here I want to thank especially Abedelmajeed Naser Edeen and Carney Matheson for the excellent scientific exchange and efficient cooperation. I am thankful also for the repeated and friendly computer assistance of Itay Onn and Ibrahim Abassi. Jake Jacobson and Blaise Dondji contributed by reading corrections of parts of the thesis. I also want to thank Monique Hevroni, the secretary of the department, for helping many times with burocratic affairs. Thanks also to Myriam Sabah, who was in charge of the lab kitchen and facilitated the laboratory work.

I am very grateful to Dr. Gabriele Schönian (Institut für Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Charité, Humboldt Universität Berlin) who has been of essential importance for the finalization of the thesis. I thank her for her critical and profound review and her personal and very reliable [page 127↓]support. I am very grateful to Mustafa el Fari and Henry Mueller, who have been very supportive with computer assistance in Berlin. I thank Professor Dr. med. Wolfang Presber for his supervision.

At last I want to mention the financial support which has made this research possible: Fellowships were granted by the Axel-Springer Stiftung and by „Freunde und Förderer der Charité e.V“. The trilateral project „Leishmaniasis in Israel and the West Bank“ itself was financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). All laboratory expenses as well as the living costs in the second part of the research period were covered by the Israeli portion of the DFG project. I am very thankful for all financial support and for all individuals who have made decisions in my favour.

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