Doctor Barry Marshall of the University of Western Australia, the 2005 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine, gave an hour-long lecture at KAIST's KI Building on Wednesday, November 2. His talk was sponsored by the Australian Embassy in Seoul in commemoration of the 50th anniversary since South Korea and Australia first opened diplomatic relations.
Dr. Marshall spoke about his path to discovering Helicobacter pylori and the difficulties he encountered in trying to overturn scientific paradigms. He elicited positive reactions from the audience, especially when he displayed a rejection letter he received after he tried to publish a paper on H. pylori in 1982, two years before he could get his research accepted by the wider scientific community.
Dr. Marshall also gave a brief overview of experimental methods used in the field of medicine, a history of how the Nobel Prize was created and the importance of having a hypothesis when pursing research. The lecture ended with some of the more intellectually challenging material that consisted of new research data from the doctor's studies that use H. pylori to trace the origin and migration of prehistoric humans.
Most of the specific technical details were omitted, making the presentation very viewer-friendly to students of all departments. The lecture was attended by over 200 people, forcing those who arrived last and could not find seats to stand in the back or sit on the stairwells.
Dr. Marshall first published papers on the correlation between H. pylori and peptic ulcers in the Medical Journal of Australia in 1985, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2005. Dr. Marshall is also a Companion of the Order of Australia, a Fellow of the Royal Society and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford. He is well-known in Korea due to his appearance in an advertisement for a Korean yogurt drink that helps prevent infection from H. pylori.
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