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Biographical entry Atkinson, Nancy (1910 - 1999)

OBE

Born
9 March 1910
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died
21 December 1999
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Occupation
Bacteriologist
Alternative Names
  • Benko, Nancy (married name)

Summary

Nancy Atkinson played a major role in the development of bacteriology in Adelaide. She joined the University of Adelaide as Lecturer of Bacteriology in 1939 and progressed through to Reader in the Department of Oral Biology, from which she retired in 1975. From 1942 to 1949 she concurrently worked as the bacteriologist at the Institute of Medical Veterinary Science. Atkinson established and directed the Salmonella Reference Laboratory at the University and discovered a new strain of salmonella, which she named Salmonella Adelaide. She was also the first person in the state to produce penicillin. Atkinson was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her salmonella research breakthroughs. Apart from salmonella, her research also involved the study of the natural antibacterial properties of Australian native plants and fungi, and the investigation of new treatments for typhoid and tuberculosis, discovering the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine. Atkinson was co-founder of the Australian Institute of Microbiology and helped establish the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology - South Australian branch and the Water and Waste Water Association. Outside of science, Nancy Atkinson had an interest in the wine industry and South Australian artists: she and her husband established Chalk Hill winery in McLaren Vales and wrote two art books (under the name of Benko): Art and Artists of South Australia and The Art of David Boyd.

Details

Events

1932
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Melbourne
1932 - 1937
Career position - Research Scholar and Demonstrator in Bacteriology at the University of Melbourne
1937 - 1939
Career position - Research Bacteriologist at the Institute of Medical Veterinary Science in Adelaide
1939 - 1942
Career position - Lecturer-in-charge of Bacteriology at the University of Adelaide
1942 - 1949
Career position - Bacteriologist at the Institute of Medical Veterinary Science
1942 - 1950
Career position - Head of the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Adelaide
1951
Award - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
1952 - 1958
Career position - Reader in Bacteriology at the University of Adelaide
1957
Education - Doctor of Science (DSc) received from the University of Adelaide
1958
Career position - Co-founder of the Australian Institute of Microbiology
1958 - 1961
Career position - Reader in Microbiology at the University of Adelaide
1961 - 1967
Career position - Personal Readership in Industrial Microbiology
1963
Career position - President of the Australian Institute of Microbiology
1967 - 1975
Career position - Transferred to the Department of Oral Biology at the University of Adelaide

Archival resources

The University of Adelaide Archives

  • Papers of Dr. Nancy Atkinson (1910-99), MSS 0065; The University of Adelaide Archives. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Online Resources

Annette Alafaci