Ilya Mechnikov was the author of fundamental works in the fields of immunology, bacteriology and epidemiology, as well as the pioneer of studying a human aging process (gerontology). He was born in 1845 in Ivanivka village, Kharkiv region, and later studied at the Kharkiv University. He worked at the Odesa University that now bears his name and then assumed post of the lab director at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Mechnikov was the first to develop a coherent theory of protective systems of the human body. He also studied the effect of fungi and bacteria on a human immune system – this research subsequently led to the development of antibiotics. In 1908, Ilya Mechnikov was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of phagocytosis theory of the human immune system.

Mykhailo Petrusiak