Concept

Edward Abraham

Résumé
Sir Edward Penley Abraham, (10 June 1913 – 8 May 1999) was an English biochemist instrumental in the development of the first antibiotics penicillin and cephalosporin. Abraham was born on 10 June 1913 at 47 South View Road, Shirley, Southampton. From 1924 Abraham attended King Edward VI School, Southampton, before achieving a First in Chemistry at The Queen's College, Oxford. Abraham completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Sir Robert Robinson, during which he was the first to crystallise lysozyme, an enzyme discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming and shown to have antibacterial properties, and was later the first enzyme to have its structure solved using X-ray crystallography, by Lord David Philips. Discovery and development of cephalosporins and Penicillin He then won a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship and spent a year in Stockholm at the Biokemiska Institut. He then moved back to Oxford and became part of a research team led by Sir Howard Florey at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, responsible for the development of penicillin and its medical applications. Sir Edward was specifically involved in the purification process and determination of its chemical structure. In 1940 Edward discovered penicillinase as the cause of bacterial resistance to antibiotics such as penicillin. In October 1943 Abraham and Sir Ernst Boris Chain proposed a novel beta-lactam structure with a fused two ring system. This proposal was confirmed in 1945 by Dorothy Hodgkin using X-ray crystallography. Florey formally recognised Abraham's work in 1948 by nominating him to be one of the first three "penicillin" research Fellows at Lincoln College, Oxford. Later that year samples of a Cephalosporium acremonium fungus with antibacterial properties were received from Giuseppe Brotzu. Abraham and Guy Newton purified the antibiotics from this fungus and found one, cephalosporin C, was not degraded by penicillinase and hence able to cure infections from penicillin-resistant bacteria.
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