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Born in Rio de Janeiro on November 24, 1879, Henrique da Rocha Lima earned his medical degree in Germany in 1901. Upon returning to Brazil in 1902, he joined the Federal Serum Therapy Institute as a researcher; there he organized the anatomy and pathological histology sectors. His research on the histopathology of yellow fever revolutionized diagnosis of the disease. In 1910, he moved back to Germany, where he lived until 1927, working first with Hermann Duerk at the University of Jena and then at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. It was during this time that he made the biggest discovery of his career: he identified the etiological agent of epidemic typhus, which he called Rickettsia prowazekii. Rickettsia formed a new category in the classification of microorganisms. Rocha Lima was director of the Biological Institute of São Paulo from 1933 to 1949. He died in the city of São Paulo on April 12, 1956.