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Sir Macfarlane Burnet
, late 1970s

by Louis Kahan

pen and ink on paper (sheet: 56.7 cm x 38.6 cm)

Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet OM AK KBE (1899-1985), medical scientist, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1960 for his work with Sir Peter Medawar on acquired immunological tolerance to tissue transplants. Burnet had earlier worked with Jean Macnamara to prove that there were at least two viruses causing poliomyelitis, and had isolated the Q fever bacterium, Coxiella burnetti. Much of his research was carried out at Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, where he was Assistant Director from 1928 to 1931 and Director from 1944 to 1965. His successor, Sir Gustav Nossal, described Burnet as 'truly a lateral thinker, but a highly disciplined one.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 1998
Accession number: 1998.24