Lord Howard Florey (1898-1968)
Born September 24, 1898, in Adelaide, Australia
Australian pathologist who, together with Ernst
Boris Chain, isolated and purified penicillin (discovered in 1928 by
Sir Alexander Fleming) for general clinical use. For this research Florey,
Chain, and Fleming shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
Florey studied medicine at Adelaide and Oxford Universities until 1924.
After holding teaching and research posts at Cambridge and Sheffield
Universities, he was professor of pathology at Oxford (1935-62). He
was appointed provost of Queen's College, Oxford (1962), and chancellor
of the Australian National University, Canberra (1965), positions he
held until his death. He was knighted in 1944 and made life peer in
Florey investigated tissue inflammation and secretion of mucous membranes.
He succeeded in purifying lysozyme, a bacteria-destroying enzyme found
in tears and saliva, and characterized the substances acted upon by
the enzyme. In 1939 he surveyed other naturally occurring antibacterial
substances, concentrating on penicillin. With Chain, he demonstrated
its curative properties in human studies and developed methods for its
production. Following World War II and the work of his research team
in North Africa, penicillin came into widespread clinical use.
He died on February 21, 1968, in Oxford, England.