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Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), Bacteriologist and discoverer of penicillin
Sir Alexander Fleming
Sitter in 20 portraits
Born in Ayrshire, Fleming served with the Royal Army Medical Corps at Boulogne (1914-18), studying the treatment of war wounds, and observed the dangers of cross-infection. In 1920 Fleming became a lecturer in bacteriology at St Mary's, and discovered lysozyme, the body's natural antibiotic in 1922. He became Professor in Bacteriology at London University in 1928, the year he discovered penicillin, the first antibiotic. Its successful development was delayed until the Second World War. Fleming shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine with Howard Florey and Ernst Chain in 1945. He was Director of the Wright-Fleming Institute of Microbiology (1946-54).