PerryBiology7 December 2017Oswald Theodore AveryOswald Theodore Avery was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1877. Growing up, hisfamily was very poor and they survived from the donations of the church where his father wasthe pastor. As a child, Oswald had a talent and a passion for music.
At a young age, he learned toplay the cornet, which he played during Sunday services to attract people’s interest in his church.Later, he was offered a scholarship from The National Conservatory of Music, but instead,decided to go to the Colgate Academy, because he did not want to pursue his music career. Aftergraduation, he studied at Colgate University.After graduation, he developed an interest in the field of medicine and attended theCollege of Physicians and Surgeons.
Here, he worked as a family doctor. At this time in the early1900’s, the medicinal field was changing greatly, and researchers were learning more aboutdiseases and their sources. He worked very well with patients, but he found that he was moreinterested in medical research. He found that his patients were suffering from diseases that wereunable to be cured, and he wanted to find a way to help them through research. He decided tobecome a microbiologist.In 1907, Oswald began work at the Hoagland Laboratory in Brooklyn, where he receivedan associate directorship. The Hoagland Laboratory was the first privately owned researchfacility, specifically for bacteria, in the United States. Here, Oswald performed many differentexperiments with bacteria.
One of these included studying fermented milk products; for example,yogurt, and how bacteria interacted with the human body.In 1913, he wrote a study of tuberculosis bacterium. This research caught the attentionthe director of the Rockefeller Institute Hospital in New York, Dr. Rufus Cole, who wasfascinated by Oswald’s work. He offered him a job at the Rockefeller.
Oswald took the job andbecame a bacteriologist.In this role, Oswald conducted research and experiments having to do with DNA. Heused previous research from another scientist named Frederick Griffith. Griffith studied abacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. The bacteria is made up of two strands, the rough,which is not harmful, and the smooth, which is deadly.
In his experimenting, he was able to turnone strain of bacteria into another one. Oswald used Griffith’s findings as well as his own topublish his research stating that genes were DNA. What was stated was not taken well by otherscientists. Most scientists still thought that genes were proteins.
However, a scientist namedEdwin Chargaff embraced Oswald’s discovery, and thus did more research to further understandDNA’s role in genetics.After Oswald’s retirement, in 1948, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to live closer tohis brother’s family. In 1954, he was diagnosed with liver cancer, and he died the next year fromthe sickness. The legacy of Oswald Theodore Avery was that he is recognized as making asignificant influence in the field of Molecular Biology and DNA and genetics, although he wasnever given any research awards for his discoveries.