Microbiologists

Microbiologists are the scientists who study microscopic organisms like bacteria, fungi, algae, etc. and their effects on other living organisms. Microbiology, as a separate field of biology focuses on studying the characteristics, growth and development of microorganisms both at the molecular and cellular level. It also involves the study of their ecology and their effects on other living organisms like plants and animals. Microbiologists in the course of their work collect samples from various types of environments like human beings, animal, field locations, etc. and analyze these in the laboratory to identify and monitor the microorganisms present in the samples. Some specializations within this field include bacteriology, immunology, mycology, and phycology. This field of science is closely related with other life sciences like molecular biology and biochemistry. Microbiologists work in a number of fields like medicine, research, and university teaching. They basically work in a laboratory setting and use a variety of tools like microscopes, gas chromatographs, and electrophoresis gels while working with microbes. Their work is also required in industries like pharmaceuticals, food processing, and biotechnology. What follows is a collection of the biographies, timelines, trivia and other information about the professional and personal lives of some of the world’s most famous microbiologists.
More From Microbiologists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Microbiologists

 1 Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur.
8
Famous As: Chemist and Microbiologist
Birthdate: December 27, 1822
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dole, Jura, Franche-Comté, France
Died: September 28, 1895
Considered one of the founders of bacteriology, Louis Pasteur created vaccines for anthrax and rabies, and invented the process of heating food and wine to kill microbes that cause contamination, which was named pasteurization after him. Known as the “father of microbiology,” he also founded the Pasteur Institute in Paris.  

 2 Alexander Fleming

Alexander Fleming.
4
Famous As: Biologist, Pharmacologist, Discovered Penicillin
Birthdate: August 6, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lochfield, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died: March 11, 1955

Alexander Fleming was a Scottish microbiologist and physician. He is credited with discovering penicillin, the world's first effective antibiotic substance; a discovery that changed the course of history. He also discovered lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme which forms part of the innate immune system. In 1999, Fleming was named in Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th century list.

 3 Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.
4
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: October 24, 1632
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Delft, Netherlands
Died: August 26, 1723

Seventeenth-century Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, also known as the Father of Microbiology, is remembered as a pioneer of microscopy. His contribution to microbiology included the discovery of spermatozoa, bacteria, and muscle fibers. Though he had not authored any book, his letters to the Royal Society were later published.

 4 Robert Koch

Robert Koch.
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 11, 1843
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany
Died: May 27, 1910

Robert Koch was a German microbiologist and physician. One of the prominent co-founders of modern bacteriology, Koch is credited with creating and improving laboratory techniques and technologies in the field of microbiology. He is also credited with making important discoveries in public health. In 1905, Robert Koch won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on tuberculosis.

Recommended Lists:

 5 Francis Crick

Francis Crick.
4
Famous As: Co-discoverer of the Structure of the DNA Molecule, Nobel Prize Winner
Birthdate: June 8, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Weston Favell, Northamptonshire, England
Died: July 28, 2004

Nobel Prize-winning British biophysicist Francis Crick is best known for his ground-breaking work to determine the structure of the DNA, along with James Watson, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin. He taught at various institutes, such as the Salk Institute, and was also awarded the Order of Merit.

 6 Arthur D. Levinson

Arthur D. Levinson.
5
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: March 31, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Recommended Lists:

 7 Bruce Edwards Ivins

Bruce Edwards Ivins
3
Famous As: Biologist, Scientist, Circus performer, Politician
Birthdate: April 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lebanon
Died: July 29, 2008

Bruce Edwards Ivins was a microbiologist and vaccinologist. He served as the senior biodefense researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). He was the suspected perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks and died in an apparent suicide after realizing that he was likely to face criminal charges for his alleged role in the attacks. 

You May Like

 8 Emmanuelle Charpentier

Emmanuelle Charpentier
3
Famous As: Researcher
Birthdate: December 11, 1968
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Juvisy-sur-Orge, France
Recommended Lists:

 9 Carlo Urbani

Carlo Urbani.
5
Famous As: Epidemiologist
Birthdate: October 19, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Castelplanio
Died: March 29, 2003
Microbiologist Carlo Urbani, a parasitic infections expert, was working at the WHO Hanoi office when the deadly and contagious disease SARS had started to spread across the world in 2003. He alerted the WHO headquarters in Geneva about the disease, thus saving many lives, though he eventually succumbed to it.

 10 Selman Waksman

Selman Waksman.
3
Famous As: Discoverer of Streptomycin
Birthdate: July 22, 1888
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nova Pryluka, Ukraine
Died: August 16, 1973
Nobel Prize-winning Ukrainian-American biochemist and microbiologist Selman Waksman revolutionized science with his pathbreaking discovery of a number of antibiotics. His research on soil microbes helped in the discovery of streptomycin, the first successful treatment of tuberculosis, though he was sued by his student Albert Schatz for stealing credits.
Recommended Lists:

 11 Richard M. Krause

Richard M. Krause
3
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: January 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Marietta, Ohio, United States
Died: January 6, 2015

 12 Maurice Hilleman

Maurice Hilleman
8
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: August 30, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Miles City, Montana, United States
Died: April 11, 2005

Maurice Hilleman was an American microbiologist who developed more than 40 vaccines. His vaccines save almost eight million lives every year and he is regarded as one of the most important vaccinologists of all time. He also played a major role in the discovery of antigenic drift and shift. In 1988, he was honored with the National Medal of Science.

Recommended Lists:

 13 Martinus Beijerinck

Martinus Beijerinck
3
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: March 16, 1851
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: January 1, 1931

 14 Harold E. Varmus

Harold E. Varmus.
3
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oceanside, New York, US

Harold E. Varmus is an American scientist who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with J. Michael Bishop for their discovery of the retroviral oncogenes' cellular origin. From 1993 to 1999, he served as the director of the National Institutes of Health. From 2010 to 2015, he served as the director of the National Cancer Institute.

Recommended Lists:

 15 Peter Piot

Peter Piot
3
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: February 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leuven, Belgium

 16 Salvador Luria

Salvador Luria.
3
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: August 13, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: February 6, 1991

Nobel Prize-winning Italian microbiologist Salvador Luria is best remembered for his work on bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria. He had also chaired Microbiology and later, the Center for Cancer Research at MIT. As a political activist, he was against nuclear weapon testing and was once banned from receiving funds.

 17 Sergei Winogradsky

Sergei Winogradsky
2
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: September 1, 1856
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Died: February 25, 1953

 18 John Franklin Enders

John Franklin Enders.
2
Famous As: The Father of Modern Vaccines
Birthdate: February 10, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: West Hartford, Connecticut
Died: September 8, 1985

 19 Ferdinand Cohn

Ferdinand Cohn.
2
Famous As: Founder of Bacteriology and Microbiology
Birthdate: January 24, 1828
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: June 25, 1898

Ferdinand Cohn was a German biologist who is credited with co-founding microbiology and modern bacteriology. Apart from publishing more than 150 research reports, Cohn also made significant contributions to the field of botany. He was also the first person to classify algae as plants. Ferdinand Cohn received the prestigious Leeuwenhoek Medal in 1885.

 20 Werner Arber

Werner Arber.
2
Famous As: Microbiologist & Geneticist
Birthdate: June 3, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gränichen, Aarau, Aargau, Switzerland

Werner Arber is a Swiss geneticist and microbiologist whose discovery of restriction endonucleases earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978; he shared the award with Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Smith. Arber's work alongside Nathans and Smith led to the progression of recombinant DNA technology. Werner Arber is also credited with co-founding the World Cultural Council.

 21 Daniel Nathans

Daniel Nathans.
2
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: October 30, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware, US
Died: November 16, 1999

 22 Hamilton O. Smith

Hamilton O. Smith.
7
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: August 23, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Recommended Lists:

 23 Heinrich Anton de Bary

Heinrich Anton de Bary
2
Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: January 26, 1831
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Died: January 19, 1888

German surgeon and botanist Heinrich Anton de Bary is regarded as the pioneer of plant pathology and mycology. Apart from teaching botany, he chalked the life cycles of many fungi and also coined the term symbiosis to explain the mutually beneficial co-existence of many orgnanisms, such as fungi and algae.

 24 Albert Schatz

Albert Schatz
2
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: February 2, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Norwich, Connecticut, United States
Died: January 17, 2005
Recommended Lists:

 25 Jules Bordet

Jules Bordet.
2
Famous As: Microbiologist and Immunologist
Birthdate: June 13, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Soignies
Died: April 6, 1961

 26 René Dubos

René Dubos
2
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: February 20, 1901
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France
Died: February 20, 1982
Recommended Lists:

 27 Rebecca Lancefield

Rebecca Lancefield
2
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: January 5, 1895
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: March 3, 1981

 28 Frank Macfarlane Burnet

Frank Macfarlane Burnet.
1
Famous As: Virologist & Noble Prize Laureate
Birthdate: September 3, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Traralgon
Died: August 31, 1985
Recommended Lists:

 29 Jacob Dolson Cox

Jacob Dolson Cox
7
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: October 27, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: August 4, 1900

Apart from being a lawyer and a war historian, Jacob Dolson Cox had served as the governor of Ohio and as a US representative from Ohio's 6th district. During the American Civil War, he was a Union general. As the Secretary of the Interior, he introduced a civil service merit system.

 30 Nkandu Luo

Nkandu Luo
1
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: December 21, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chinsali, Zambia
Recommended Lists:

 31 Shiga Kiyoshi

Shiga Kiyoshi
1
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: February 7, 1871
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Miyagi, Japan
Died: January 25, 1957

 32 Johannes Eugenius Bülow Warming

Johannes Eugenius Bülow Warming
1
Famous As: Danish botanist
Birthdate: November 3, 1841
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mano, Denmark
Died: April 2, 1924
Recommended Lists:

 33 Friedrich Loeffler

Friedrich Loeffler
1
Famous As: Bacteriologist
Birthdate: June 24, 1852
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany
Died: April 9, 1915

 34 André Lwoff

André Lwoff.
1
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: May 8, 1902
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ainay-le-Château, Allier, Auvergne, France
Died: September 30, 1994

 35 Max Schultze

Max Schultze
1
Famous As: Anatomist
Birthdate: March 15, 1825
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Died: June 16, 1874

 36 August von Wassermann

August von Wassermann
1
Famous As: Bacteriologist
Birthdate: February 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bamberg, Germany
Died: March 16, 1925

 37 Kenneth V. Thimann

Kenneth V. Thimann
1
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 5, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ashford, England
Died: January 15, 1997

 38 Fritz Schaudinn

Fritz Schaudinn
1
Famous As: Zoologist
Birthdate: September 19, 1871
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: East Prussia
Died: June 22, 1906

 39 Félix d'Hérelle

Félix d'Hérelle
1
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: April 25, 1873
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: February 22, 1949

 40 Hattie Alexander

Hattie Alexander
1
Famous As: Pediatrician
Birthdate: April 5, 1901
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: June 24, 1968

 41 Friedrich Karl Kleine

Friedrich Karl Kleine
0
Famous As: Pharmacologist
Birthdate: May 14, 1869
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stralsund, Germany
Died: March 22, 1951

 42 Mary Bunting

Mary Bunting
0
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: July 10, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: January 21, 1998

 43 Hans Cohen

Hans Cohen
0
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: February 3, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Groningen, Netherlands
Died: May 14, 2020

 44 Irving Millman

Irving Millman
0
Famous As: Virologist
Birthdate: May 23, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: April 17, 2012

 45 Harold Ginsberg

Harold Ginsberg
0
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: May 27, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Daytona Beach, Florida, United States
Died: February 2, 2003

 46 Ephraim Anderson

Ephraim Anderson
0
Famous As: Bacteriologist
Birthdate: October 28, 1911
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Died: March 14, 2006

 47 Armand Frappier

Armand Frappier
0
Famous As: Physician, Microbiologist
Birthdate: November 26, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada
Died: December 17, 1991

 48 Julia Levy

Julia Levy
0
Famous As: Microbiologist, Immunologist
Birthdate: May 15, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Singapore
See Also