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Barry Marshal.

posted Jun 8, 2015, 8:20 PM by Upali Salpadoru   [ updated Jul 1, 2019, 9:59 PM ]

Barry Marshal  1951-

Date of Birth:-30 September

   Born in Western Australia, Kalgoorlie followed by three younger kids. The mother was a nurse. Father was a welder.

His skills get honed in medicine and mechanics.

Fig1 Prof.Barry J. Marshall delivering his Nobel Lecture.

1959  Age 8Yrs.

The family moved to Perth.

He attended Newman College and was considered a gifted student.

1972 Age 21Yrs.

He married Adrienne. Won a scholarship to the medical faculty of the University of Western Australia.

1974  Age 23Yrs.

Obtained the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree and, became a resident physician, attached to Royal Perth Hospital in Australia. He had to treat many patients with bleeding stomach ulcers.

1979  Age 28Yrs.

Marshall was appointed as a Registrar in Medicine at the Royal Perth Hospital

1981  Age 30Yrs.

He had confessed that at Medical College he was made to believe that everything in medicine has been discovered. Only during his internship he had realized the fallacy of this. Then only he had decided to trudge off the beaten track. The starting point was a discovery by his friend and colleague Dr. Robin Warren. Who had isolated Helicobacter pylori (a bacterium) in the biopsy tissues of ulcer patients.

Fig.2  Helicobacter pylori.

1982 Age 31Yrs.

The two scientists performed the initial culture of H. pylori and developed a hypothesis connecting gastric problems and this bacteria.

This was generally ridiculed by many doctors and scientists who believed that bacteria could not survive in such an acidic medium as the intestines.

1983  Age 32Yrs.

When Barry expressed his views at a Conference in Brussels one learned participant remarked, “most preposterous thing ever heard." A prominent gastroenterologist categorized him as "a crazy guy saying crazy things."

Their efforts to cultivate the bacteria in animals failed. Then he tried a combination of bismuth and antibiotics on the patients.  He got some success.

1084 Age 33Yrs

Finally in desperation, he decided to be his own guinea pig. 

He underwent an endoscopy examination and got himself cleared of all intestinal disorders. Next he gulped down a stinking potion of microbes He was simply overjoyed as he developed vomiting, severe headache, fatigue and irritability, the symptoms of an ulcer patient. There was inflammation of the stomach lining and thriving colonies of Helicobacter pylori. He disproved the assumption that they cannot thrive under highly acidic conditions of the stomach.

This experiment received much publicity and initiated worldwide research on Helicobacter pylori.

It was soon confirmed that over 50% of the gastric ulcers and 90 % of the duodenal ulcers were caused by this bacterium. Continued use of Non Steroid Anti Inflammatory drugs were the cause in most of the remaining patients

"My husband has done the burriest thing in the world" were the words of his wife Adrienne when she heard that the learned doctor had gulped down a portion of bacterial culture, straight off a petri dish. It was for the sake of patients suffering from gastritis that he volunteered to become his own guinea pig.

1986 Age 35Yrs

Marshall was made the Professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia. He taught and carried out his research there for over a decade. Marshall's work was showered with honors, Barry Marshall and Dr. Warren received, the Albert Lasker Award. The jury, Stated that “The revolutionary research of Barry J. Marshall has dispelled the darkness surrounding a painful chronic disease and lighted the pathway to a cure...”

1994, Age 43Yrs.

The National Institute of Health concluded that the eradication of H pylori with antibiotics can cure peptic ulcers.

The “Helicobacter Foundation” was founded by Prof. Barry J. Marshall in early 1994, and is dedicated to providing you with the latest information about Helicobacter pylori, its diagnosis, treatment and clinical perspectives

1998  Age 47Yrs.

Barry said  "Everyone was against me, but I knew I was right."

Dr. Marshall had given up possibility of getting the Nobel medal,


Fig.3 Two Nobel Laureates together in health and sickness.

1999  Age 48Yrs.

he was given the position of Professor of Microbiology. In quick succession he gained honors from Canada's, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Britain and the Florey Prize from his native land. 

Yet The Nobel Prize was elusive to them. “Almost every autumn, around the time of the Nobel announcements, Marshall and his old friend Dr. Warren would meet for a beer and joke about winning the Nobel Prize.

2005 Age 54Yrs.

He and his pathologist Dr. Warren were recognized by the Nobel Committee "for their re-discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease."



Reminiscing of old times Adrienne says, “He was working 14-hr days, seeing patients all day and doing research at night, and now he was ‘dreadfully ill’. I told him he had to stop it and get some treatment."  “We never had any money but we had a pretty good life. Engineering was his first love and remains a hobby. His first scientific paper on H pylori was written on a homebuilt word processor. He's got a dreadful sense of humour. He's always being stupid, bad jokes, puns, that sort of thing. He really enjoys everything he does. He's a 150 per cent person; whatever he's doing he throws himself into. Barry is a bit more of a boy than a man."