Selman Waksman (1888-1973)
Born July 22, 1888, Pryluky, Ukraine
In 1919 he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
1930-40: Professor of soil microbiology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. During his extensive study of the actinomycetes he extracted from them antibiotics valuable for their killing effect not only on gram-positive bacteria, against which penicillin is effective, but also on gram-negative bacteria, of which the tubercle bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) is one.
In 1943 he extracted
the relatively nontoxic streptomycin from the actinomycete Streptomyces
griseus and found that it exercised repressive influence on tuberculosis.
In combination with other chemotherapeutic agents, streptomycin has
become a major factor in controlling the disease.
He died on August 16, 1973, Hyannis, Massachusetts, U.S.A.