Georges-Maurice Halpern, an American physician, researcher, educator and author, was initially trained as a cook, in Paris, France (1950-1953).
Most recently, he was Visiting Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, City University of Hong Kong (2015), and Honorary Professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Until December 2014 he was 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 is also Visiting Professor at the Chinese Cuisine Institute of Hong [VTC Complex], and Honorary Professor in Culinary Arts, Faculty of Management and Hospitality, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong.
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 refugee 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 (1950-1953), 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 PharmD/D.Sc. degree, with highest honors and jury honors, from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Paris XI (Paris Sud-Châtenay 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, Institut 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 wellbeing 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 and until the end of 2015, he enjoyed this position, and served conjointly with the Food Safety & Technology Research Centre in Shenzhen, China. He is also Visiting Professor (Food Science) at the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute, and trained the staff of the brand new International Culinary Institute [VTC Complex]. At the beginning of 2016 he joined the brand new –and prestigious- Department of Biomedical Sciences at the City University of Hong Kong as Visiting Professor for one year.
Starting in 2016, until 2018, he consolidated his collaboration with the Para Limes Institute on Complexity at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore several weeks each year on East of West, West of Eastand other programs.
He was Honorary Professor to the Culinary Arts and Management Program of the Faculty of Management and Hospitality of THEI, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong (until the end of 2018). And now Curriculum & Program Developer at the GlobalChef Academy “At-Sunrice”, in Singapore (2018-2020).
Besides these medical and academic commitments, he served (2003-2013) 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 and nutrition issues at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University www.polyu.edu.hk/ffs.
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’s 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 authored around 330 published papers, and has authored, co-authored or edited 24 books (see www.drgeorges.net for a selection). Since 2014, he devotes much of his time to writing Essays; these, assembled in 6 volumes, are regularly accessible online at www.drgeorges.net.
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.