Howard Florey, Baron Florey

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Howard Walter Florey, Baron Florey OM FRS (24 September 1898 – 21 February 1968) was an Australian pharmacologist and pathologist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Sir Ernst Boris Chain and Sir Alexander Fleming for his role in the extraction of penicillin. Florey's discoveries are estimated to have saved over 80 million lives, worldwide.[1] Florey is regarded by the Australian scientific and medical community as one of its greatest scientists. Sir Robert Menzies, Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister, said that "in terms of world well-being, Florey was the most important man ever born in Australia".[citation needed]



Born the youngest of five children in Adelaide, South Australia, Howard Florey was educated at St Peter's College, Adelaide, where he was a brilliant student and junior sportsman. He studied medicine at the University of Adelaide from 1917 to 1921. At the university he met Ethel Reed, another medical student, who became both his wife and his research colleague. A Rhodes Scholar, he continued his studies at Magdalen College, Oxford, receiving the degrees of BA and MA. In 1926 he was elected to a fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and a year later he received the degree of PhD from the University of Cambridge.

After periods in the United States and at 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. He mass produced this mould for the injections of the soldiers of World War II who suffered from infections.

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