Alexander Fleming was a Scottish botanist, a biologist and a pharmacologist. Fleming was famous for being the pioneer in the production of an antibiotic after he discovered the famous penicillin in 1928. Fleming became famous in the field of bacteriology after the discovery of penicillin led him to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology / Medicine together with Ernst Boris Chan and Howard Florey in 1945.
- First years of life
Alexander Fleming was born in August 6th, 1881 on a farm near Darvel, a small town in Ayrshire, Scotland. Fleming was born to Hugh Fleming, a farmer, and his second wife, Grace Stirling Morton, and was the third born of four children. Alexander Fleming attended local Darvel school and Loudoun Moor school in his childhood and later studied at Kilmarnock Academy after receiving a two-year scholarship. In his later years as a teenager, Fleming worked in a shipping office until he inherited money from his uncle, John Fleming in 1901. Using the inheritance, he enrolled at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1903 where he subsequently earned an MBBS in 1906. After graduating,
While at St. Mary’s School, Alexander Fleming earned a degree in Bacteriological Sciences and soon became a lecturer at the institute. During World War I, Alexander was drafted as captain of the Royal Army Military Corps and worked in several battlefield hospitals in France. During his war, Alexander witnessed sepsis killing many soldiers despite the use of antiseptics in wound treatment and began his research on this cause of infection and later presented his findings to “The Lancet”, a medical journal . When the war ended, Alexander returned to St. Mary’s Hospital and in 1928 became a professor of bacteriology at the University of London.
- More contributions
After returning to St. Mary’s Hospital after World War I, Alexander continued to conduct his research into the cause of deep tissue infection despite the use of antiseptics and focused his research on finding alternative antibacterial substances. During his research, Alexander discovered that an enzyme known as lysozyme (present in a patient’s nasal mucus) inhibited bacterial growth. However, Fleming later discovered that the enzyme did not have the potential to be administered in wounds because it had little effect on bacteria. In September 1928, Alexander discovered a fungus in his laboratory that actually killed a wide range of disease-causing bacteria. The fungus was of the genus Penicillium and, after numerous tests, Alexander released a extraction from the fungus and called it “penicillin”. The discovery of penicillin marks the beginning of modern antibiotics with penicillin that have saved millions of lives around the world.
- The challenges
After Alexander Fleming had made his remarkable discovery, he published it in the Journal of Experimental Pathology. However, little attention was paid to its discovery and it meant that Fleming did not receive any support to conduct further research on penicillin. Despite the lack of support, Fleming continued to conduct his research in his laboratory, but after suffering some setbacks, he abandoned his research.
- Death and inheritance
Alexander Fleming died of a heart attack at 11th, 1955 at his country home in Barton Mill, Suffolk. Thanks to his tireless research that led to the discovery of penicillin, Alexander Fleming has become one of the greatest medical researchers of all time. The laboratory in which the discovery was made was turned into a museum called “The Fleming Museum”. In 1944 Alexander became a Knight of the First Degree after being knighted by King George VI. In 1999, Time Magazine named Fleming was named among the most important people of 100 in 20th Century