Duchesne, Ernest

BORN 30 May 1874, Paris - DIED 12 Apr 1912, Amélie-les-Bains-Palalda, Pyrénées-Orientales
GRAVE LOCATION Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes: Cimetière du Grand-Jas, 205 avenue de Grasse (Allée du Dépositoire Communal)

Ernest Duchesne was educated at the École du Service de Santé Militaire in Lyon in 1894. In 1897, in his thesis he was the first person to consider the therapeutic capabilities of molds. He had observed how Arab stable boys kept their saddles dampo because the molds helped against the saddles sores on the horses. When he injected the mold in several sick guinea pigs they all recovered. He was so young and unknown that his research went unnoticed and it would take 32 years before Alexander Fleming discovered the penicillin (derived from the molds) could kill bacteria.

He became Major of Medecine and married Rosa Lasalles from Cannes in 1901. She died in 1903 of tuberculosis. In 1904 he fell ill, possibly also from tuberculosis. In 1907 he left the army and went to a sanatorium in Amelie les Bains. He died in 1912, aged only 37, and was buried next to his wife at the Cimetière du Grand-Jas in Cannes.

In 1944 Fleming received the Nobel Prize and five years later Duchesne was finally posthumously honoured for his work by the Académie nationale de médecine.


The grave of Ernest Duchesne at the Cimetière du Grand-Jas, Cannes.
Picture by Androom (30 Nov 2008)


• Beyern, Bertrand, Guide des tombes d'hommes célèbres, Le Cherche Midi, Paris, 2003
Ernest Duchesne - Wikipedia

Duchesnois, Joséphine

Published: 15 Oct 2010
Last update: 17 Jul 2022