History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Narratives

Background Notes on Items Belonging to Dr Desmond Kay

These items belonged to Dr Desmond Kay (died 2003), a microbiologist and authority on electron microscopy, who worked at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford, from 1949. He came there originally in the research team (presumably as a graduate student) of Sir Paul Fildes, who was invited by Florey to occupy a laboratory at the Dunn School after retiring from the Lister Institute, London. They did important work on bacteriophages.

Penicillin culture vessels like 25512, used in large numbers in the early 1940s, survived around the Dunn School for many years and were routinely claimed by departmental staff as keepsakes. Although Florey was the professor and head of department, penicillin work had ended by the time Kay arrived in 1949.

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