The Most Influential People In Medicine Throughout History: From The Father Of Immunology To Marie Curie

most influential people
Though it's difficult to list all influential people in the history of medicine, here are a few that made particularly significant splashes. Study Medicine Europe

It’s tough to pinpoint only a small amount of influential doctors, researchers, and scientists who have moved medicine forward in significant ways — but this infographic depicts a select few in history who have made some of the biggest impacts.

The infographic, designed by Study Medicine Europe, starts out with Edward Jenner, who’s otherwise known as the “Father of Immunology.” Jenner developed the first vaccine in the world, which was used against smallpox. The disease killed an estimated 20 percent of the population at that time, so a vaccine saved countless lives; according to the infographic, Jenner is considered to have saved more lives than anyone else in history.

The infographic includes two ladies — Florence Nightingale, who is known to be the most famous nurse in history — and of course, Marie Curie, who developed radiation as therapy and became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in 1903. Some of the other major medical breakthroughs it touches upon include Sigmund Freud’s revolution of psychology; Joseph Lister’s pioneering of sterilization; Alexander Fleming’s discovery of antibiotics; and the first human organ transplant completed by Joseph Murray.

The infographic only covers about 200 years in medical history, so we certainly can’t say it encompasses all influential people in medicine. Though medicine has evolved since ancient times, the impact of ancient physicians like Hippocrates (the “Father of Western Medicine”) can still be felt today. Many other scientists were dismissed as crazy in their time, and are only beginning to receive recognition decades or even hundreds of years later. And let’s not forget to remember the women aside from Marie Curie who enacted change and likely never received the recognition they deserved during their eras — going all the way back to Metrodora, an ancient Greek physician.

In addition, we do know that there are plenty of living people who are positively impacting health around the world, and many of them are even under age 30.


An Info-graphic by the team at

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