Selman Waksman was born in 1888 into a Jewish family in Czarist Russia when there were few opportunities for Jewish children to pursue higher education. He emigrated with his family in 1910 to the Metuchen, New Jersey.  The family lived in New Jersey and Selman enrolled at Rutgers where his interest percolated in studying bacteria in culture samples from soil layers. Waksman would go on to receive his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley and become a celebrated chemist for his work at Rutgers developing antibiotics from actinomycetes, a group of soil microbes similar to bacteria.  With a set of extraordinary students and collaborators, Waksman (in collaboration with Albert Schatz and his students) isolated about twenty antibiotics, of which streptomycin (1943) – the first effective treatment for tuberculosis – was the most notable.[i]

[i] Source:

Related Posts

Share This