Sir Frank Burnet OM AK KBE FRS FAA FRSNZ, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1960

Is your surname Burnet?

Research the Burnet family

Sir Frank Burnet OM AK KBE FRS FAA FRSNZ, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1960's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Frank Macfarlane Burnet

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Traralgon, Victoria, Australia
Death: August 31, 1985 (85)
Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia (Colon cancer)
Place of Burial: Port Fairy, Australia
Immediate Family:

Son of Frank Burnet and Hadassah Pollock Burnet
Husband of Edith Linda Burnet and Hazel Burnet
Father of Private; Private and Private

Managed by: Yigal Burstein
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Sir Frank Burnet OM AK KBE FRS FAA FRSNZ, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1960

Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, OM AK KBE FRS FAA FRSNZ (3 September 1899 – 31 August 1985), usually known as Macfarlane or Mac Burnet, was an Australian virologist best known for his contributions to immunology. He won the Nobel Prize in 1960 for predicting acquired immune tolerance and was best known for developing the theory of clonal selection.

Burnet received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Melbourne in 1924, and his PhD from the University of London in 1928. He went on to conduct pioneering research in microbiology and immunology at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, and served as director of the Institute from 1944 to 1965. From 1965 until his retirement in 1978, Burnet worked at the University of Melbourne. Throughout his career he played an active role in the development of public policy for the medical sciences in Australia and was a founding member of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), and served as its president from 1965 to 1969.

Burnet's major achievements in microbiology included discovering the causative agents of Q-fever and psittacosis; developing assays for the isolation, culture and detection of influenza virus; describing the recombination of influenza strains; demonstrating that the myxomatosis virus does not cause disease in humans. Modern methods for producing influenza vaccines are still based on Burnet's work improving virus growing processes in hen's eggs.

Burnet was the most highly decorated and honoured scientist to have worked in Australia. For his contributions to Australian science, he was made the first Australian of the Year in 1960, and in 1978 a Knight of the Order of Australia. He was recognised internationally for his achievements: in addition to the Nobel, he received the Lasker Award and the Royal and Copley Medal from the Royal Society, honorary doctorates, and distinguished service honours from the Commonwealth of Nations and Japan.

After a series of increasing health problems in his final years, Burnet died of cancer.

view all

Sir Frank Burnet OM AK KBE FRS FAA FRSNZ, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1960's Timeline

1899
September 3, 1899
Traralgon, Victoria, Australia
1985
August 31, 1985
Age 85
Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia
????
Port Fairy, Australia