Gerhard Domagk (1895-1964)
Born October 30, 1895, Lagow, Brandenburg,
Domagk earned a medical degree from the University of Kiel in 1921.
After teaching at the Universities of Greifswald (1924) and Munich (1925),
he became director of the I.G. Farbenindustrie (Bayer) Laboratory for
Experimental Pathology and Bacteriology, Wuppertal-Elberfeld. There,
inspired by the ideas of Paul Ehrlich, he began testing newly developed
dyes for their possible effects against various infections. He noticed
the antibacterial action of one of the dyes against streptococcal infection
in mice. The dye, Prontosil red, was then tried clinically against streptococcal
infections in humans with great success. The active component of Prontosil
turned out to be sulfanilamide, which became another important sulfa
1939: Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discovery (announced
in 1932) of the antibacterial effects of Prontosil, the first of the
Unable to accept the Nobel award at the time because of Nazi German
policy, Domagk later (1947) received the gold medal and diploma. He
also was active in research on tuberculosis and cancer.
He died on April 24, 1964, Burgberg, near Königsfeld, Germany.