Life On The Job

Famous or Historic People

Professor Barry Marshall AC FRACP FRS FAA ( 30 September 1951 - ) Nobel Laureate 2005 - Medical Laboratory Scientist & Gastroenterologist


With Nobel Prize medal



Professor Barry Marshall is a Nobel Laureate, Clinical Professor and UWA Brand Ambassador at The University of Western Australia. Professor Marshall (1974 UWA graduate) and Emeritus Professor J Robin Warren were awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.

Marshall and Prof. Robin Warren showed that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) plays a major role in causing many peptic ulcers, challenging decades of medical doctrine holding that ulcers were caused primarily by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid. This discovery has allowed for a breakthrough in understanding a causative link between Helicobacter pylori infection and stomach cancer.


Marshall was born in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia and lived in Kalgoorlie and Carnarvon until moving to Perth at the age of eight. His father held various jobs, and his mother was a nurse. He is the eldest of four siblings. He attended Newman College for his secondary education and the University of Western Australia School of Medicine, where he received a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 1974. He married his wife Adrienne in 1972 and has four children.

 Marshall obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Australia in 1974. From 1977 to 1984 he worked at Royal Perth Hospital, and he later taught medicine at the University of Western Australia, where he also was a research fellow.

Opportunities & Experiences

In the early 1980s Marshall became interested in the research of Warren, who in 1979 had first observed the presence of spiral-shaped bacteria in a biopsy of a patient’s stomach lining. The two began working together to determine the significance of the bacteria. They conducted a study of stomach biopsies from 100 patients that systematically showed that the bacteria were present in almost all patients with gastritis, duodenal ulcer, or gastric ulcer. Based on these findings, Warren and Marshall proposed that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori was involved in causing those diseases.

This contradicted the commonly held belief that peptic ulcers resulted from an excess of gastric acid that was released in the stomach as the result of emotional stress, the ingestion of spicy foods, or other factors. It also challenged the traditional treatments, which included antacid medicines and dietary changes, by supporting a curative regimen of antibiotics and acid-secretion inhibitors.

In 1982 Marshall and Warren obtained funding for one year of research. The first 30 out of 100 samples showed no support for their hypothesis. However, it was discovered that the lab technicians had been throwing out the cultures after 2 days. This was standard practice for throat swabs where other organisms in the mouth rendered cultures as not useful after 2 days. Due to other hospital work, the lab technicians did not have time to immediately throw out the 31st test on the second day, and so it stayed from Thursday through to the Monday. In this sample, they discovered the presence of H. pylori. It turns out that H. pylori grow more slowly than 2 days, and also that the stomach cultures are not contaminated by other organisms.

In 1983 they submitted their findings so far to the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, but the reviewers turned their paper down, rating it in the bottom 10% of those they received in 1983.

After failed attempts to infect piglets in 1984, Marshall, after having a baseline endoscopy done, drank a broth containing cultured H. pylori, expecting to develop, perhaps years later, an ulcer. Hoping to persuade skeptics, Marshall drank a culture of H. pylori and within a week began suffering stomach pain and other symptoms of acute gastritis. Stomach biopsies confirmed that he had gastritis and showed that the affected areas of his stomach were infected with H. pylori. He was surprised when, only three days later, he developed vague nausea and halitosis (due to the achlorhydria, there was no acid to kill bacteria in the stomach, and their waste products manifested as bad breath), noticed only by his mother. On days 5–8, he developed achlorhydric (no acid) vomiting. On day eight, he had a repeat endoscopy, which showed massive inflammation (gastritis), and a biopsy from which H. pylori was cultured, showing it had colonised his stomach. On the fourteenth day after ingestion, a third endoscopy was done, Marshall began to take antibiotics and was cured.

After his work at Fremantle Hospital, Marshall did research at Royal Perth Hospital (1985–86) and at the University of Virginia, USA (1986–present), before returning to Australia while remaining on the faculty of the University of Virginia. He held a Burnet Fellowship at the University of Western Australia (UWA) from 1998–2003. Marshall continues research related to H. pylori and runs the H. pylori Research Laboratory at UWA.

Professor Marshall returned to Perth and UWA in 1996 after a tenure at the University of Virginia. Today, Professor Marshall is the Director of The Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Training, which was founded in his honour. In addition to H. pylori research, the Marshall Centre is at the forefront of infectious disease identification and surveillance, diagnostics and drug design, and transformative discovery.

Professor Marshall has several projects including studying the relationship H. pylori has with the immune system. Recent research has found children with H. pylori are 45 per cent less likely to develop asthma. With this as a basis, Professor Marshall and his team are developing a medication that uses the bacteria to rebalance an overactive immune system and prevent asthma and food allergies.

The Helicobacter pylori Research Group is taking up the challenge to develop new diagnostics and treatments to target H. pylori across the globe. The research team is focused on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of H. pylori using clinical microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, genomics and systems biology.

Another brainchild of Professor Marshall is the Noisy Guts Project. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a perplexing and persistent problem affecting 11 per cent of the world’s population. Research shows a strong correlation between gut noises and gut disorders, and his team are developing a safe, non-invasive screening, monitoring and diagnostic tool.

In 2007, Marshall accepted a part-time appointment at the Pennsylvania State University.


Prior to winning the Nobel Prize, Marshall had received the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award (1995) and the Benjamin Franklin Medal (1999) for his work on H. pylori. He also wrote several books, including Helicobacter Pioneers (2002), a collection of historical first-hand accounts of scientists who studied Helicobacter.

Marshall also received the Warren Alpert Prize in 1994; the Australian Medical Association Award and the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 1995; the Gairdner Foundation International Award in 1996; the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize in 1997; the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine, the Florey Medal, and the Buchanan Medal of the Royal Society in 1998.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1999.

Also, the Keio Medical Science Prize in 2002; and the Australian Centenary Medal and Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture in 2003.

Marshall was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2007. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Oxford in 2009.

Marshall was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS) in 2015.

These Days

These days, apart from his duties as a Nobel laureate, university professor, researcher, medical doctor and renowned speaker, Prof. Marshall devotes time to his own bio tech startup, Ondek, which is developing products that use Helicobacter pylori bacterium to cure allergies.

In August 2020 Barry Marshall, along with Simon J. Thorpe, accepted a position at the scientific advisory board of Brainchip INC, a computer chip company.

Did You Know?

The Nobel Prize is not a single prize, but five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel's 1895 will, are awarded "to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”.

Nobel Prizes are awarded in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace (Nobel characterized the Peace Prize as "to the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses"). Nobel Prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in their respective fields.

The prize ceremonies take place annually. Each recipient (known as a "laureate") receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a monetary award. In 2020, the Nobel Prize monetary award is 10,000,000 SEK, or US$1,145,000, or €968,000, or £880,000.[4] A prize may not be shared among more than three individuals, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organizations of more than three people. Although Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize is presented.

Nobel Medal
Nobel Medal
(Source: The Conversation)

The Nobel Prizes, beginning in 1901 and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, beginning in 1969, have been awarded 603 times to 962 people and 25 organizations. Four individuals have received more than one Nobel Prize including Marie Curie.


To see the list of Australians who have won the Nobel Prize, click here.


bullet.gif (981 bytes)The Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize

Very detailed biography.
bullet.gif (981 bytes)University of Western Australia

bullet.gif (981 bytes)The Conversation 2 October 2018

The Conversation
bullet.gif (981 bytes)The Conversation 30 March 2016

The Conversation

bullet.gif (981 bytes)The Conversation 8 July 2011

The Conversation

YouTube: Noisy Guts Project

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Barry Marshall at GYSS 2023 – How bad luck, incompetence & fraud, delayed a discovery by 100 years - you will need to advance to 7mins as there was technical difficulties at the beginning.

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Professor Barry Marshall - Nobel Laureate

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: What Really Causes Ulcers- The Fascinating Saga of Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Barry Marshall

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: How to win a Nobel Prize

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: The Man Who Tried to Give Himself An Ulcer... For Science

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: Dr Barry Marshall Helicobacter Presentation

bullet.gif (981 bytes)YouTube: The Barry J Marshall Library: UWA Science Library renamed in Nobel Laureate's honour


bullet.gif (981 bytes)Community of Inquiry: Scientific Proof

MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

NumeracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy

Ethical Understanding Australian Curriculum General Capability: Ethical Understanding


Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity


1. As a class, you are going to conduct a Community of Inquiry. Read over the structure and process of a CoI before commencing this activity.

Community of Inquiry

2. Your stimulus material is an article written in July 2019 and the YouTube videos above. Split up the resources so all the class as different aspects to this discussion.

Challenging Sciences

3. As a class group, read through the article above paragraph by paragraph.

4. In pairs, write up a question for each of the four quadrants below:

Question Quadrant

5. Put all the "Questions for Thinking" on a piece of butcher's paper or the board and collate those questions that seem to be asking the same thing. The question which is asked most, starts off the classroom discussion.




Material sourced from
University of Western Australia [
Profile: Professor Barry Marshall]
Science [Professor Barry Marshall]
Britannica [Barry J Marshall]
Wikipedia [Barry Marshall]
The Conversation [Barry Marshall - Profile;]
The Nobel Prize [
Barry J. Marshall]


side 5

side bar 

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side



side 5 

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side

side 5

side bar

side bar

sidebar 9

Jeweller side

side 5

side bar