Dora Lush

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Dora Lush
Dora Lush portrait.jpg
Born (1910-07-31)31 July 1910
Hawthorn, Victoria
Died 20 May 1943(1943-05-20) (aged 32)
Melbourne, Victoria
Citizenship Australia
Alma mater University of Melbourne (B.Sc. 1932, M.Sc. 1934 )
Scientific career
Fields Bacteriology
Institutions National Institute for Medical Research
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Dora Mary Lush (31 July 1910 – 20 May 1943) was an Australian bacteriologist. She died after accidentally pricking her finger with a needle containing lethal scrub typhus while attempting to develop a vaccine for the disease.

Early life[edit]

Lush was born in Hawthorn, Victoria, the daughter of John Fullarton Lush, a clerk, and his wife Dora Emma Louisa née Puttmann.[1] She had two brothers, who served as officers in the Second AIF and RAAF during World War II.[2] She was educated at Fintona Girls' School[3] and the University of Melbourne, gaining a B.Sc. in 1932 and an M.Sc. in 1934.[1] She was an active sportswoman, being selected for the University of Melbourne's women's basketball team.[4]

Research[edit]

Lush worked at the National Institute for Medical Research, London, from early in 1939. She returned to Australia. Her work on the influenza virus was praised in 1940.[5] She worked with Frank Macfarlane Burnet at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne on a scrub typhus vaccine in 1942,[1] as scrub typhus was a serious health risk to Australian soldiers engaged in jungle warfare in the New Guinea Campaign during World War II.[6][7]

Death[edit]

On 27 April 1943 Lush accidentally pricked her finger with a needle containing scrub typhus while inoculating a mouse. There was no effective treatment at the time for this often fatal disease. She died four weeks later, on 20 May 1943.[2] Before her death she insisted that blood samples be taken from her to aid research.[1][7] Unfortunately, the researchers were ultimately unable to develop a satisfactory vaccine.[8]

Lush was cremated at Springvale Crematorium on 22 May 1943.[3] A memorial tablet was placed outside the laboratory where she worked at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.[9]

Legacy[edit]

The National Health and Medical Research Council now offers postgraduate scholarships named in her honour.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Rasmussen, Carolyn. "Lush, Dora Mary (1910–1943)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Death from Scrub Fever". Kalgoorlie Miner. 49, (12,754). Western Australia. 25 May 1943. p. 1. Retrieved 8 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. ^ a b "Lost Life in Cause of Science". The Argus. Melbourne. 21 May 1943. 
  4. ^ "Return of Hockey Team". The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946). Melbourne. 15 August 1931. p. 50. Retrieved 18 August 2015 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Tribute To Australian Doctors' Work." The News. Adelaide. 21 October 1940. p. 4. Retrieved 18 August 2015 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "A Science Note: About the Unpleasant New Guinea Bush "Mokka"". The Australasian. Melbourne. 24 June 1944. p. 13. Retrieved 18 August 2015 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ a b "X-Ray Martyr Left Only £13 Estate". The Worker. Brisbane. 24 May 1943. p. 3. Retrieved 18 August 2015 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ Walker, Allan S. (1952). Clinical Problems of War. Australia in the War of 1939–1945 Series 5 – Medical. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. pp. 192–193, 666. OCLC 8324033. 
  9. ^ "Tropical Diseases: Miss D. Lush honoured". The West Australian. 61, (18,367). Western Australia. 25 May 1945. p. 10. Retrieved 8 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ "Miss Dora Lush". Retrieved 2015-08-17. 
  11. ^ "Dora Lush, the Australian scientist and war hero you've never heard about". Retrieved 2015-08-17. 

External links[edit]