Google Honours The Life of Dame Jean Macnamara

By Ben Hamill - April 04 2020

 Google Honours The Life of Dame Jean Macnamara

April 1st is a date that’s proved particularly poignant this year during a time that sees humanity once again fighting for survival. Search engine giant Google on April 1 honoured the scientist who developed a vaccine for one of the most dreaded diseases to have entered into our midst in all of human history: Polio. Dame Jean Macnamara, who was born on April 1, 1899 in Victoria in Australia, worked round the clock in order to ensure that the disabled received the best possible medical care available to the industry throughout the entire course of her stellar career.

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The doctor and scientist showed a keen interest in anatomy as well as general medical care from a very young age. Not surprisingly perhaps, she was born into a family that truly valued hard work and the value of an education, for men as well as women – a trait not exactly commonplace at the time. She attended the Presbyterian Ladies College whilst at school and soon excelled to the point of her having been appointed the editor of the local college magazine. For this feat, she received a prize for general excellence in performance from the college.

Back To The Beginning

But a keen sense for detail and language weren’t her only achievements. She excelled at university level too and graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1922 with not one but two degrees under her belt. She earned degrees in surgery as well as anatomy, after which she was appointed resident medical officer at the prestigious Royal Melbourne Hospital.

At the time of her having been appointed resident at the Royal Children’s Hospital in May of 1923, Jean Macnamara was only 23 years old. She continued in residency at the children’s hospital for two more years until 1925, a year widely regarded as a particularly critical time in terms of the spread of a particularly crippling disease: poliomyelitis.

Following the 2-year residency at the children’s hospital she applied for the position of clinical assistant at the hospital and in the capacity as children’s outpatient’s physician. It was at this point that she also entered into her own private practice, where she focused solely on those suffering from poliomyelitis, better known today as Polio.

Her Research Set Her Apart

And it was in research that Dame Jean Macnamara found her niche. She after thorough research and as a result of ongoing in-depth study and investigation concluded that the only way in which to treat the illness during its pre-paralytic stage, was to apply to the body immune serum as a way of boosting the body’s own capacity to fight off the effects of the illness and to essentially, with the help of the boost of course, heal itself.

The treatment eventually required a heavy measure of defense. The medical field did not accept it all too widely at the time of publication. Unperturbed, the keen scientist and doctor pressed on and in 1931, in collaboration with Australian scientist and virologist Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, discovered that there was indeed more than one strain of Polio in existence. This, more than any other discovery, was what eventually led to the formulation of Stark, a vaccine that would ultimately go on to effectively prevent the occurrence of the disease in society.


Who was Dame Jean Macnamara?

An Australian doctor and scientist.

What did Dame Jean Macnamara develop?

The Polio vaccine.

When did Dame Jean Macnamara die?

October the 13th, 1968.

What was Dame Jean Macnamara’s Polio vaccine called?

The Stark vaccine.

When was Jean Macnamara made a Dame?

In 1935 she was awarded the Order of the British Empire.

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