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Hans P. Riemann, 1920–2007

Hans Riemann Hans Riemann, a School of Veterinary Medicine professor emeritus and a leading light in the Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degree program, died March 6.

Hans Riemann was born on a farm in Jutland, Denmark. His parents farmed and raised six children, of whom Hans was the youngest. He studied at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen and received his DVM in 1943, during the German occupation.

After a year in food animal practice, Dr. Riemann served a year as Public Health Officer for the City of Copenhagen.  Meanwhile, he became section head of the Food Preservation Institute, Technical University of Denmark, and  a microbiologist in the Technical Laboratory of the Danish Ministry of Fisheries from 1945 to 1954. He was chief veterinarian and microbiologist of the Danish Meat Research Institute, Roskilde, from 1954 to 1959.

Riemann served briefly as a research associate in the Department of Food Science of the University of Illinois, Urbana, 1959–1960, but returned to Denmark and the Danish Meat Research Institute to be director of research until 1964. He earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Copenhagen in 1963.

In 1964, Riemann joined the faculty of the School of Veterinary Medicine. He was a full Professor in the (former)Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine from 1971 until 1990, serving as chair of the department from 1977 to 1988. From 1990, he retired from the Department of Population Health and Reproduction, but continued to serve as a research professor of food safety and epidemiology. Riemann collaborated on Salmonella-related investigations designed to improve animal health on poultry farms before returning to Denmark in 2006.

Riemann was a founder of the Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine program at UC Davis.  He was a member of various professional organizations and author of more than 200 publications in the areas of microbiology, food safety, and epidemiology. His signature publication was the book, Foodborne Infections and Intoxications, now in its third edition. He was a founding editor of the journal Veterinary Epidemiology, and co-authored the first textbook in the field, Epidemiology in Veterinary Practice.

Throughout his career, Riemann maintained personal ties to his homeland and advocated professional and educational exchange. He was elected to membership in the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences in 1962, awarded an honorary veterinary doctorate by the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen in 1990, and elected to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 1991.

In 1999, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark conferred a knighthood on Riemann.

Hans Riemann passed away on March 6, 2007 in Denmark, five days before his 87th birthday. He is survived by a sister, his two daughters and two sons-in-law, two granddaughters, two grandsons, and one great-granddaughter.

At the knighthood ceremony, which took place at UC Davis, Dean Bennie Osburn praised Riemann for his service to the school and society. "Dr. Riemann’s work has directly contributed to the control and prevention of livestock and food-borne disease—areas vitally important to both human and animal health."


Thanks to Professor Dean O. Cliver for providing the biographical information above.