Life History

Oswald Theodore Avery was a Canadian-American physician and medical researcher. He is best known for his groundbreaking work on the role of DNA in genetics and heredity.

Biography of Oswald Avery and Discovery

Oswald Avery Birth

Oswald Theodore Avery was born on October 21, 1877 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Oswald Avery Accomplishments

Dr. Oswald Theodore Avery (October 21, 1877 – February 20, 1955) was a Canadian-American physician and medical researcher who made significant contributions to the understanding of genetics and the role of DNA in inheritance.

Discovery of the transforming principle: Avery and his colleagues conducted a series of experiments that showed that a substance present in heat-killed pneumococcal bacteria was responsible for transforming non-virulent strains into virulent ones. This substance was later identified as DNA.

Contribution to the understanding of gene function: Avery's research helped to advance the understanding of gene function and laid the foundation for the field of molecular biology. His work on the transformation of bacteria helped to demonstrate that genetic information could be transferred from one organism to another, which was a key finding in the study of genetics.

Pioneer in bacteriology: Avery made important contributions to the understanding of bacterial infections and their treatment, and his research helped to develop new methods for diagnosing and controlling infectious diseases.

Development of the pneumococcal typing technique: Avery developed a technique for typing pneumococcal bacteria based on the analysis of their capsular polysaccharides, which was crucial for understanding the epidemiology of pneumococcal infections and developing vaccines.

Contribution to the understanding of the human immune system: Avery's research on pneumococcal infections provided insights into the mechanisms of the human immune response and the way in which bacteria evade it.

He is best known for his role in the discovery of the role of DNA as the genetic material that carries the instructions for the development and function of all living things.

Avery's most significant accomplishment was his experiments on the transformation of pneumococcal bacteria. In 1944, Avery and his colleagues, Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty, published a paper in which they showed that DNA, not protein as previously believed, is the genetic material responsible for transmitting traits from one generation of bacteria to the next. This discovery revolutionized the field of genetics and provided evidence for the central dogma of molecular biology that genetic information flows from DNA to RNA to proteins.

Oswald Avery Family Background

Oswald Avery father's name was Joseph Francis Avery, and his mother's name was Elizabeth Crowdy Avery.His father was a Baptist minister and his mother was a homemaker.

Oswald Avery Siblings:Oswald Avery did have an older brother named Ernest and a younger brother named Roy.

Joseph Francis Avery was a Baptist minister in England who emigrated to Canada in 1873 and established himself as a well-respected pastor in Halifax. In 1887, he moved his family to New York City where he was appointed the pastor of the Mariner's Temple.

Oswald Avery's family.  the Avery family was active in their local Baptist mission church on the lower East Side of New York City, with each member participating in different ways. Elizabeth was involved with charities and the newsletter, while the young Oswald and his oldest brother, Ernest, often played their clarinets on the church steps to attract new attendees. It's interesting to see how religion and music played an important role in their family life.

Ernest died early in 1892 at the age of 18, probably from tuberculosis. Reverend Avery also passed away several months later. Following their deaths, the then 15-year-old Oswald assumed the paternal role for his youngest brother, Roy, and later for his cousin, Minnie Wandell, who Roy often affectionately referred to as "little sister." This demonstrates Oswald's maturity and responsibility at a young age, and his willingness to take care of and support those close to him.

Oswald Avery Education

Oswald Theodore Avery received his early education in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and later in New York City, where his family moved when he was a teenager. He graduated from high school in New York and went on to attend college at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Avery studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons (now part of Columbia University) in New York City, where he earned his medical degree in 1900. He then went on to complete a residency at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York and later worked at several other hospitals in the city.

Throughout his education and career, Avery was known for his dedication to science and medicine. He had a strong interest in bacteriology and infectious diseases, and he devoted much of his career to studying the composition of pneumococci, the bacteria responsible for pneumonia.

Avery's education and early medical experience laid the foundation for his later scientific achievements, including his groundbreaking discovery that DNA is the genetic material, which had far-reaching implications for the fields of genetics and medicine.

Oswald Avery Career

In 1902, Avery moved to the United States and began working as a researcher at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City. It was here that he made his most famous discovery, the role of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as the genetic material that carries the genetic information in cells. His work laid the foundation for the modern field of molecular biology and genetics.

Avery retired from the Rockefeller Institute in 1948, and he continued to conduct research and write articles until his death in 1955. Despite his groundbreaking work, Avery did not receive widespread recognition for his contributions to the field of genetics during his lifetime. Nevertheless, his legacy has continued to inspire scientists and researchers in the years since his death, and his work remains an important part of the scientific canon.

Avery received his early education in Halifax and went on to study medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax. After graduation, he worked at various hospitals in Nova Scotia and New York City before joining the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University) in 1913.

At the Rockefeller Institute, Avery devoted himself to medical research, particularly in the field of pneumococcal pneumonia. He is best known for his work on the chemical nature of the substance that causes transformation of pneumococcal types, which was later recognized as DNA. This work laid the foundation for the modern understanding of genetics and DNA as the fundamental basis of inheritance.

Avery's work on DNA was largely ignored by the scientific community in his time, but it was later rediscovered and recognized as a major milestone in the field of genetics. Today, he is considered one of the pioneers of modern molecular biology.

Despite his many accomplishments, Avery lived a relatively quiet life and was not well known outside of the scientific community.

Oswald Avery Awards

Here is a list of some of the awards and honors that Oswald Avery received during his lifetime:

Guggenheim Fellowship (1935)

Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research (1944)

Royal Society of Medicine, London (1945)

The Robert Koch Prize (1947)

The Scientific Achievement Award from the American Medical Association (1948)

The William Henry Draper Prize in the Applied Sciences from the National Academy of Sciences (1949)

The Passano Foundation Award for Medical Research (1950)

The William H. Welch Medal of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (1951)

It is important to note that this list may not be exhaustive and there may be other awards and honors that Oswald Avery received that are not mentioned here.

Oswald Avery Personal Life

Oswald Theodore Avery married Almira Russell on June 28, 1906. They had two children together, a son named Robert and a daughter named Elizabeth. Little is known about Avery's personal life, as he kept his private life separate from his professional work. However, it is known that he was deeply devoted to his family and was a loving husband and father.

Oswald Avery Death

Oswald Theodore Avery died on February 20, 1955, at the age of 77. He died of a heart attack at his home in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York.

About Us

Ancient Post is proud to write about(Oswald Avery)and if you have any comments on this article please Contact US

Previous Post Next Post