Our penicillin research on UK’s Best Breakthroughs List

The first documented use of penicillin as a therapy was carried out here at our University in 1930 by Cecil George Paine, a member of the Pathology Department. Today this breakthrough has been named as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs in recognition of the impact the research has had on everyday life.

Paine treated an eye infection in two babies with a crude filtrate from a penicillin-producing mould supplied by his lecturer, Alexander Fleming, whilst studying at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. Along with a team from Oxford, Sir Howard Florey went on to purify penicillin – conducting the first clinical trial of the drug in 1941. Now, over 75 years later, our Florey Institute is addressing one of the world’s biggest biomedical challenges – infectious disease.


Let's tell people about our life-changing research

If you want to help celebrate our life-changing work, including our penicillin breakthrough, take a look at the new MadeAtUni campaign.

MadeAtUni launches today with the UK’s Best Breakthroughs List: 100+ Ways Universities Have Improved Everyday Life. The list was compiled by Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities, as part of the MadeAtUni campaign to change public perceptions of universities and bring to life the difference they make to people, lives and communities across the UK.

The campaign follows independent research undertaken by Britain Thinks, which found that the public has little understanding of the benefits of universities beyond undergraduate teaching. The findings show that research is one of the key triggers to change opinion about universities but for many people, it is an abstract concept.

So, this is a great opportunity to show people how our research improves everyday life. You can follow @MadeAtUni and share your own stories using #MadeAtUni

Read more about our breakthrough penicillin research and the MadeAtUni campaign