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Table of Contents
Howard Florey was an Australian pathologist and pharmacologist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Ernst Chain and Sir Alexander Fleming in 1945 for his role in the development of penicillin for general clinical use.
See the fact file below for more information on the Howard Florey or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Howard Florey worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
- Howard Walter Florey was born on September 24, 1898 in the suburb of Malvern in Adelaide, South Australia.
- Howard was the only son and the youngest child of Joseph Florey, an English immigrant, and Bertha Mary Wadham, a second-generation Australian.
- Florey first studied at Kyre College Preparatory School.
- He then attended St. Peter’s Collegiate School where he excelled in physics and chemistry and played various sports.
- From 1917 to 1921, he studied medicine at the University of Adelaide on a state scholarship.
- Florey was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to continue his studies at Magdalen College, Oxford, receiving a BA degree in 1924 and an MA degree in 1925.
- In 1925, he went to the University of Cambridge and won a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, earning him a ten-month visit to the United States.
- In 1926, he returned to undertake a fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and received his PhD a year later.
CAREER AND CONTRIBUTIONS
- In 1927, Florey was appointed Huddersfield Lecturer in Special Pathology at Cambridge University.
- In 1931, he was appointed Joseph Hunter Chair of Pathology at the University of Sheffield.
- In 1935, he returned as a pathology professor and research fellow at the University of Oxford, where he remained until 1962.
- He led a team of researchers consisting of Ernst Boris Chain, Norman Heatley, and Edward Abraham.
- In 1938, they began investigating the properties of naturally occurring antibacterial substances.
- Florey studied inflammation of tissues and secretion of mucous membranes.
- They studied an antibacterial substance found in human tears and saliva and human tears called lysozyme, and characterized the substances acted upon by the enzyme.
- They moved to researching antibiotics, which led to their work on penicillin.
- Florey read Alexander Fleming’s paper on the the antibacterial properties of Penicillium notatum mold and began working on its application.
- They demonstrated the curative properties of penicillin and developed methods for its production.
- In 1941, Florey and Chain treated their first patient, Albert Alexander, who had a facial infection involving staphylococci and streptococci.
- Alexander began to recover within a day of being given penicillin, but eventually relapsed and died because the researchers’ supply of penicillin was insufficient.
- Consequently, the researchers shifted to treating children, who could be treated with smaller amounts of penicillin.
- Florey’s research team conducted a successful investigation on the large-scale production of penicillin and extraction of the active ingredient.
- By 1945, penicillin production was an industrial process for the Allied forces during World War II.
- Florey shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Ernst Boris Chain and Alexander Fleming in 1945.
- Alexander Fleming first observed the antibiotic effects of the mold that makes penicillin.
- Chain and Florey developed the mold into an applicable treatment.
- He was appointed Honorary Consultant in Pathology to the Army during World War II.
- He also became Nuffield Visiting Professor to Australia and New Zealand in 1944.
- In 1958, Florey opened the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, where he was also chancellor from 1965 until his death.
- He was appointed provost of Queen’s College, Oxford in 1962.
HONORS AND AWARDS
- Florey was greatly honored and awarded for the work he did to make penicillin widely available so it could be used to save millions of lives in the war.
- Florey was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1941 and became its president in 1958.
- Florey was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1944.
- In 1947, he won the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
- In 1965, he was made life peer in the United Kingdom and assumed the title of baron.
- Florey was also appointed a Member of the Order of Merit.
- He was awarded many honorary fellowships, degrees, and memberships from various universities, societies, and academies in the field of medicine and biology.
PERSONAL LIFE AND DEATH
- Florey met medical student Mary Ethel Hayter at the University of Adelaide who became his wife and also his research colleague.
- They had one daughter, Paquita Mary Joanna, and one son, Charles du Vé.
- After Ethel died in 1966, Sir Howard married his long-time colleague and research assistant Margaret Jennings.
- At 69 years old, Howard Florey died of a congestive heart failure in 1968.
Howard Florey Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Howard Florey across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Howard Florey worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Howard Florey who was an Australian pathologist and pharmacologist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Ernst Chain and Sir Alexander Fleming in 1945 for his role in the development of penicillin for general clinical use.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Howard Florey Facts
- Words of Honor
- Life of Sir Florey
- Important Terms
- Truth or Trash?
- Correct Order of Events
- Odd One Out
- Discovering Penicillin
- Nobel Winners
- Penicillin Ad
- Breakthroughs in Medicine
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