1. Hippocrates (460B.C.-377B.C)

Hippocrates ( 460 B.C- 377 B.C)

The Father of Medicine was the first to attempt to separate the practice of medicine from religion and superstition, and developed his pledge of proper conduct for doctors.

“I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with the view to injury and wrongdoing…Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick”

2. Dhanvantari


Dhanvantari is a Hindu God of medicine and treatment. He is one of the incarnation of lord Vishnu and he is also known as god of Ayurveda.

An early Indian medical practitioner and one of the world’s first surgeons, regarded as the source of Ayurveda.

He perfected many herbal-based cures and natural remedies. He was credited with discovering the antiseptic properties of turmeric and the preservative properties of salt which he incorporated into his cures.

  • Susruta Ancient Hindu Medical Text Describes 760 herbs.
  • Charka Samhita describes more than 650 drugs of animal, plant, and mineral origins that are used

3. Paracelsus (1493-1541)


Pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals (zinc) in medicine. Vigorously opposed polypharmacy, or the prescription of multiple ingredients in a single medicine.

Extract of foxglove plant used to treat dropsy (congestive heart failure) in 1785. Contains digitoxin and digoxin; today called digitalis.

4. William Withering (1741-1799)

William Withering

Discovered Digitalis Synthetic organic chemistry was born in 1828 when Friedrich Wohler synthesized urea from inorganic substances and thus demolished the vital force theory.

5. Pedanius Dioscorides

Pedanius Dioscorides
Pedanius Dioscorides

A Greek Physician, personally researched each plant and its uses. About 65 AD, he wrote De Materia Medica, “Regarding Medical Matters” on the “preparation, properties, and testing of drugs.”

Five-volume book on the uses of over 1,000 plants and minerals. For nearly 1500 years, De Materia Medica was the supreme authority on medicine and pharmacology in western civilization.

6. Claude Bernard

Claude Bernard (1813-1878)
Claude Bernard

A French Physiologist. In 1842, Claude Bernard discovered that the arrow poison Curare acts at the neuromuscular junction to interrupt the stimulation of muscle by nerve impulses. Claude Bernard also called the Father of “Modern Experimental Medicine”, Bernard’s experiments changed medicine. 

Claude Bernard’s Contributions

  • The discovery of the role of pancreatic secretion in the digestion of fats (1848).
  • The discovery of a new function of the liver is the “Internal secretion of glucose into the blood (1848).
  • The production of sugar by washed excised liver (1855) and the isolation of glycogen (1857).
  • The demonstration that curare specifically blocks motor nerve endings (1856).
  • He also established the existence of the Vasomotor system and observed Vasodilatation & Vasoconstriction.

7. Oswald Schmiedeberg

Oswald Schmiedeberg (1838-1921)
Oswald Schmiedeberg

Generally recognized as the “Founder of modem pharmacology“.

Schmiedeberg obtained his medical doctorate in 1866 with a thesis on the measurement of chloroform in blood.

In 1872, he became a professor of pharmacology at the University of Strassburg.

In 1878, he published a classic text, Outline of Pharmacology.

In 1885, he introduced urethane as a hypnotic in his 46 years at Strasburg: Schmiedeberg trained most of the men who became professors at other German universities and in several foreign countries. He was largely responsible for the preeminence of the German pharmaceutical industry up to World War II.

In the United States, the first chair in pharmacology was established at the University of Michigan in 1890 under John Jacob Abel, an American who had trained under Schmiedeberg.

8. John Jacob Abel

John Jacob Abel
John Jacob Abel

An American Pharmacologist, ph.D from the University of Michigan and trained under Schmiedeberg.

In the United States, the first chair in pharmacology was established at the University of Michigan in 1890 under John Jacob Abel.

In 1893, Abel went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he had a long and brilliant career.

Also called the “Father of American pharmacology” 1857-1938.

John Jacob Abel’s Contributions

  • Gave the name “Pharmacology” as a subject before this call “Materia Medica”. He was the second to isolate Epinephrine (1897-1898) from adrenal gland extracts (the first was Napoleon Cybulski in 1895).
  • Isolated amino acids from the blood (1914).
  • Isolation of histamine from pituitary extracts (1919).
  • Preparation of Pure crystalline insulin (1926).

His student Reid Hunt discovered acetylcholine in adrenal extracts in 1906. 

9. Friedrich Serturner

Friedrich Serturner
Friedrich Serturner

German pharmacist, who isolated the First Alkaloid from opium in 1805, administered a very large dose (100 mg) to himself and three friends.

All experienced the symptoms of severe opium poisoning for several days. The alkaloid is named morphine, for Morpheus, the Greek god of sleep.

10. Otto Loewi

Otto Loewi
Otto Loewi

A German Pharmacologist brilliantly obtained his doctor’s degree with a thesis about techniques of isolation of frog hearts.

In 1902 in London, in Starling’s laboratory, he met for the first time Henri Hallet Dale, who become a lifelong friend.

Later on in 1909, he was appointed to the Chair of Pharmacology in Graz, and thereafter in 1921, he proved the chemical transmission of nerve impulses & in 1936 He received the Nobel prize, with Henri Dale.


  • He designed his most famous experiment, which provided the first evidence for the existence of chemical transmission in a synapse.
  • The legend tells that he had the idea of the experiment in a dream and that he ran to the lab
  • in the middle of the night.
  • The experiment was very simple and became a prototype for all investigations of chemical factors in the nervous system.

11. Sir Henry Hallet Dale

Sir Henry Hallet Dale
Sir Henry Hallet Dale

An English Pharmacologist Received his M.D. from Cambridge in 1909.

Worked under John Langle & Paul Ehrlich, also a Fast friend of Otto Loewi. Dale became the Director of the Deptt of Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the National Institute for Medical Research, London in 1914.

Also served as President of the Royal Society from 1940 to 1945.

Contributions in Pharmacology

  • i) Distinguished Muscarinic & Nicotinic receptors in 1914. First identified acetylcholine in 1914 as a possible neurotransmitter, Loewi showed its importance in the nervous system. (Shared the 1936 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine)
  • ii) Dale’s principle (Dale’s Law):- This principle states that each neuron releases only one type of neurotransmitter.
  • iii) Dale’s Vasomotor Reversal Phenomenon Only a fall in BP occurs when an alpha blocker is given before injecting adrenaline He demonstrated this in a cat & used Ergot alkaloids as an alpha-blocker.

12. Colonel Ram Nath Chopra

Colonel Ram Nath Chopra
Colonel Ram Nath Chopra

Also called the Father of Indian Pharmacology.

Obtained MD degree from Cambridge University in 1908 and 1921: Appointed as the fine professor of pharmacology in the newly established Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine and parallel headed the Department of pharmacology at the Calcutta medical college From 1941 to 1957. He was Director of the Drug Research Lab at Srinaga


  • He 1st introduced and did a systematic study of Rauwolfia serpentine
  • Had a major contribution in establishing the 1st National Drug Research Institute of India, Lucknow (presently known as Central Drug Research Institute, (CDRI).
  • He pioneered research on herbal drugs in India.

Indian Posts & Telegraph department has issued a commemorative stamp in his honor.

13. Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915)

Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915)
Paul Ehrlich

German scientist in the fields of hematology, immunology, and chemotherapy.

He is noted for curing syphilis and for his research in autoimmunity. He coined the term chemotherapy and popularized the concept of a magic bullet.

Also coined the term Receptor (earlier called a receptive substance by Langley).

Ehrlich skillfully transformed diphtheria antitoxin along with Emil Adolf von Behring, into an effective preparation, his first world-renowned achievement.

However, von Behring cheated Ehrlich out of both recognition and financial reward. Only von Behring received the first Nobel Prize in Medicine, in 1901.

14. Alexander Fleming (1881-1955)

Alexendar Fleming ( 1881-1955)
Alexendar Fleming

Scottish biologist and pharmacologist. His best-known discoveries are the Discovery of the enzyme lysozyme in 1923. Antibiotic Penicillin (The wonder drug) from the mold Penicillium notatum in 1928 was a discovery by chance. On 3 September 1928, Fleming returned to his lab. After vacation. Before leaving, he had stacked all his cultures of staphylococci on a bench in a corner of his laboratory. On returning, Fleming noticed that one culture was contaminated with a fungus and that the colonies of staphylococci that had immediately surrounded it had been destroyed, whereas other colonies farther away were normal. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Florey and Ernst Chain who purified penicillin.

15. Sir Frederick Banting & Charles Best

Sir Frederick Banting & Charles Best

Sir Frederick Grant Banting, (1891-1941) was a Canadian medical scientist & doctor.

Charles Best February (1899-1978) was his assistant.

Known for the discovery of the e insulin-one of the most significant advances in medicine enabling an effective diabetes treatment. 

In 1921, Banting traveled to Toronto to visit J.J.R. Macleod at the University of Toronto, where he used his lab for this discovery.

16. Gerhard Domagk (1895-1964)

Gerhard Domagk
Gerhard Domagk

A German pathologist and bacteriologist.

Done extensive work on infections & antibiotics.

Credited with the discovery of Sulfonamidochrysoidine (KI-730) the first commercially available antibiotic (marketed under the brand name Prontosil).

He found the sulfonamide Prontosil to be effective against streptococcus, and treated his daughter with it, saving her the amputation of an arm. In 1939, Domagk received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this discovery, the first drug effective against bacterial infections.

17. Louis Lasagna

louis lasagna.jpg
louis lasagna

Father of Clinical Pharmacology

Famous American Clinical Pharmacologist. Medical degree from Columbia University in 1947.

Lasagna joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University in 1954, where he established the first-ever clinical Pharmacology department.


  • In 1964, Lasagna revised the Hippocratic Oath.
  • Conceptualize controlled clinical trials and the placebo effect.
  • Lasagna’s work led to the improvement of controlled clinical trials to test drug effectiveness and improved the regulation of drugs for effectiveness and safety.
  • Lasagna’s Law: The incidence of patient availability sharply decreases when a clinical trial begins and returns to its original level as soon as the trial is completed.

18. Sir James Black

Sir James Black
Sir James Black

A Scottish Pharmacologist. Studied Medicine at Univ. of St. Andrew.

In 1950, he joined the University of Glasgow.

He was interested in the effect of adrenaline on the human heart.

He joined ICI Pharmaceuticals in 1958. In 1964 he joined Smith, Kline, and French for whom he worked for nine years until 1973.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988 for his work.

Sir James Black: Major Contributions

  • He established the Physiology Department at Univ. of Glasgow.
  • He developed Propranolol while working for ICI, which later became the world’s best-selling drug.
  • Black was developing a similar method of treatment for stomach ulcers, but ICI did not wish to pursue the idea so Black resigned in 1964 and joined Smith, Kline, and French. While there, Black developed his second major drug, cimetidine (brand name Tagamet) in 1975 and soon outsold Propranolol to become the world’s 1st billion dollar drug.

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