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Gerhard Domagk
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Scientist
    (October 30, 1895-April 24, 1964)
    Born in Lagow, Poland
    Bacteriologist
    Discovered that the dye Prontosil was an effective antibiotic against streptococcus bacteria (1932)
    Prontosil was the first sulfa drug and first commercially available antibiotic
    Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1939)
    He turned down the Nobel Prize.
    Sulfa drugs can cause kidney stones and were largely replaced by penicillin, which has fewer side effects.
    Ironically, his discovery of Prontosil prompted Alexander Fleming to abandon work on penicillin in favor of sulfa drugs.
    He served as a soldier in World War I until he was wounded, then spent the rest of the war as a medic.
    Sulfa drugs saved the lives of thousands of patients before penicillin could be mass produced.
    His mother starved to death in a refugee camp after World War II.
    He also helped develop the anti-tuberculosis drug isoniazid, which curbed a TB epidemic in Europe after WWII.
    Because he had been forced to reject the Nobel Prize under duress from the Nazi regime, he was allowed to receive his medal (but not the monetary prize) after WWII.

Credit: C. Fishel


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