Barry, Vincent

Vincent Barry (1908-1975)                

Vincent Barry was born in Cork in 1908 and was educated at the Christian Brothers North Monastery School and graduated from University College Dublin in chemistry in 1928.

Vincent Barry moved to Galway as the assistant to the Professor of Chemistry in University College, Galway (now NUI Galway) where his work on polysaccharides led to the development of an industry based on seaweed.

In the 1940s tuberculosis was widespread in Ireland and on the recommendation of the Medical Research Council of Ireland, Vincent Barry was appointed to carry out research into the chemotherapy of tuberculosis.  He and his team had many successes during the following years.  Another drug, phenazine was active against tuberculosis.  It was also found to be effective against leprosy and is one of the three first-line drugs used in its treatment.

Vincent Barry co-authored about 200 papers and was awarded the Boyle Medal in 1969 by the Royal Dublin Society.  He was president of the Royal Irish Academy from 1970-1973 and he was awarded a Sc.D (h.c.) by the University of Dublin in 1972.  He was President of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland and he served as Chairman of The British Association for Cancer Research.

Further Reading:

Barry, V.C.  1969 Boyle Medal Lecture, Royal Dublin Society): Synthetic Phenazine Derivatives and Mycobacterial Disease.  A Twenty Year Investigation.

Mollan C,  Davis W, and Finucane B, (eds)Some People and Places in Irish Science, Dublin, Royal Irish Academy.

Mollan, C. 2007. It’s Part of What We Are. Dublin, Royal Dublin Society.


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