Born Jul 22 1888 - Died Aug 16 1973
Patent Number(s) 2,443,485
Selman Waksman revolutionized medicine and saved the lives of countless
tuberculosis patients with Streptomycin, a powerful antibiotic.
As pioneer in microbiology, Waksman specialized in the study of microbes
in soil. He recognized that microorganisms produced many organic substances
with unknown properties and created a screening system to isolate and
identify those substances with antibiotic properties. By examining thousands
of soil samples, his lab identified a number of viable antibiotic drugs.
The most important find, streptomycin, provided the first effective
treatment for tuberculosis, a disease that had ravaged mankind. Previously,
tuberculosis victims were kept in sanitaria where their main treatment
was fresh air and a healthy diet.
Waksman's success inspired others to research antibiotics. Royalties
from patents generated enormous profits, enabling Waksman to establish
and fund the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University
and the Foundation for Microbiology, which now bears his name.
Selman Waksman discovered several important antibiotics, including Streptomycin,
the first effective treatment for tuberculosis. Waksman coined the term
"antibiotic" and developed procedures for finding, isolating,
and screening them. His work freed tuberculosis patients from confinement
in sanitaria. Waksman won the 1952 Nobel Prize for the body of his work.
Born near Kiev, in the Ukraine, Waksman traveled to the U.S. to study
at Rutgers, later receiving his Ph.D. for the University of California.
The recipient of many honors, Waksman won the Nobel Prize for Physiology
or Medicine in 1952 and is credited with coining the term "antibiotic."