Sir Peter Medawar

Sir Peter Brian Medawar 1915–1987
Awarded the Nobel Prize (jointly) in Physiology or
Medicine 1960

  • Mason Professor of Zoology
  • A pioneer of transplant research
  • Developed theories of ageing

Known mostly for his work on tissue grafting, the basis of organ transplants, and discovering acquired immunological tolerance, Sir Peter Medawar –

  • Studied Biology at Oxford University and stayed on to take up Zoology
  • Worked in a number of positions at different colleges, including working on wound and burn healing during the Second World War
  • Joined Birmingham in 1947 as Mason Professor of Zoology
  • Became the Director of the National Institute for Medical Research

Sir Peter’s research was around tissue culture and why skin from
one human being will not form a permanent graft on the skin of
another person. He spent many years researching and analysing
this phenomenon of tolerance and transplantation immunity.

His work on the subject led him to being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, which awarded him the Royal Medal in 1959. In the same year, he was Reith Lecturer for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

He was also elected a Foreign Member of the New York Academy
of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.