Tag Archives: Penicillin

Dr. Marilyn Gaston’s lifesaving research

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Sickle cell anemia. Illustration by BruceBlaus on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. “[W]e can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often-neglected accomplishments of [B]lack Americans in every endeavor throughout our history.”1 – President Gerald Ford, 1976   Marilyn Gaston, MD (b. 1939), grew up in a poor family, with both parents […]

Dr. Oriol Mitjà: seeking to understand old and new infectious diseases

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Research needs to give answers to real problems.” – Dr. Oriol Mitjà   Oriol Mitjà. Photo by Oriol.mitja, 2016, on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. Dr. Oriol Mitjà (b. 1980) earned his M.D. degree from the University of Barcelona. He then completed an internal medicine residency, followed by a fellowship in […]

Recognition at last

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States Andrew Moyer, in his Peoria laboratory, discovered the process for mass producing penicillin. USDA-ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research. Public domain.    “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”  — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream     The adage “out of sight, out of mind” appears to […]

Serendipity in science and medicine

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Photo by Tyler Merbler on Flickr. CC BY 2.0. The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!”, but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov   Horace Walpole (son of the first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole) coined the word […]

The discoverers of aspirin

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Proc Royal Soc 1763, Salix Edmund Stone Willow bark. Source. In the short period between the years 1946-1950, three highly effective new drugs became available for clinical use in the newly established National Health Service. They were penicillin, streptomycin, and cortisone. Before this there were few […]

Memories of a West Virginia coal camp

Calvin Kunin Columbus, Ohio, United States   Coal town, Eastern Kentucky. Photo by Don Sniegowski. March 21, 2018. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. This is a brief account of my experience as a physician at a coal mining camp in rural West Virginia. It is based on my memory of events that took place almost […]

Selman Waksman, “father of antibiotics” and conquest of tuberculosis

[Dr. Selman Waksman, half-length portrait, facing left at work in the laboratory] / World Telegram & Sun photo by Roger Higgins. 1953. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Selman Abraham Waksman came to the United States in 1910 and worked for a few years on a farm in New Jersey. Born in a rural […]

Book review: Architects of Structural Biology

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of Architects of Structural Biology by John Meurig Thomas. Modern twenty-first-century high-technology medicine, which we now take for granted, was only made possible by remarkable advances in the physical and biological sciences of the twentieth century. In Architects of Structural Biology, the contributions of four scientific giants […]

Albert C. Barnes, MD: the physician who spun silver into gold

Sylvia Karasu New York, New York, United States   Argyrol, the compound developed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes and Dr. Hermann Hille to treat ophthalmia neonatorum, a conjunctivitis that led to blindness in newborns then caused by gram-negative gonococcus bacteria. Infection was contracted from mothers during vaginal delivery. Credit: Argyrol bottle, c. 1902-1907, Barnes & […]

Professionalism in crisis: Dr. Winkel and The Third Man

Paul Dakin London, United Kingdom   Film Forum: The Third Man Times of crisis may highlight the best and worst characteristics of people. Many of us yearn to be heroes and yet what is revealed under pressure may fall short of our ideal. Doctors share this human frailty. Is medical training and professionalism enough to […]