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A history of immunology, infection and inflammation research at Oxford

The University of Oxford has an impressive history in biomedical research and particularly in the areas of infectious disease and immunology. From John Burdon Sanderson's discovery that Penicillin could inhibit the growth of bacteria in 1883, through to penicillin's production as an effective antibiotic by Howard William Florey, Ernest Chain and Norman Heatley in 1939 at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, to the mapping of the molecular structure of penicillin by EP Abraham and subsequently Dorothy Hodgkin in 1945, Oxford academics forged the path in the development of effective antibiotics to treat infections that have revolutionised human health across the world. More recently, the expertise of Oxford researchers in the development and production of effective vaccines has been called upon in the global response to the Ebola and Zika outbreaks. The opening of research centres in Thailand, Vietnam and Kenya have built on Oxford's global leadership in tropical medicine research.

Oxford has also been the scene of phenomenal immunological discoveries, from the identification of the role of lymphocyte by James Gowans and Peter Medawar in 1959 through to the pioneering role of Peter Morris in successful kidney transplantation in 1974, to the Nobel-prize winning work of Rodney Porter in deciphering the structure of immunoglobulin molecules. 

The combination of rich history in discovery, supportive mentor structure for researchers and excellent access to facilities should inspire current and future generations of researchers in their work.

A much more detailed history of the Medical Sciences Division can be found here, with links to the history of individual Departments here