Howard Florey, co-discoverer of penicillin and driving force behind the research which led to its introduction to medicine was an Australian Scientist.
Howard Florey, co-discoverer of Penicillin
After periods in the United States and at the University of Cambridge, he was appointed to the Joseph Hunter Chair of Pathology at the University of Sheffield in 1931. In 1935 he returned to Oxford, as Professor of Pathology and Fellow of Lincoln College, leading a team of researchers. In 1938, working with Ernst Boris Chain and Norman Heatley, he read Alexander Fleming's paper discussing the antibacterial effects of Penicillium notatum mould.
In 1941, they treated their first patient, Albert Alexander, who had been scratched by a rose thorn. His whole face, eyes, scalp were swollen, and he had an eye removed to relieve some of the pain. Within a day of given penicillin he started recovering. However they didn’t have enough penicillin to help him to full recovery. Unfortunately he had a relapse and died. Because of this awful experience, they changed their focus to children, who didn’t need such large quantities of penicillin.
His research team investigated the large-scale production of the mould and efficient extraction of the active ingredient, succeeding to the point where, by 1945, penicillin production was an industrial process for the Allies in World War II.