Frederick G. Novy was a respected bacteriologist at the University of Michigan, serving as director of the Hygienic Laboratory and Dean of the Medical School.
Novy was born December 9, 1864 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with a B.S. degree from the University of Michigan in 1886. In 1887, he accepted a position as instructor in the department of organic chemistry and published on the subject of bacteriological chemistry. In 1888, he and his department head Victor C. Vaughan went to Berlin to study under Robert Koch at his Hygiene Institute. Upon his return, he began teaching a course in bacteriology and began developing techniques for the cultivation of pathogenic bacteria. Novy at this time undertook additional educational training, receiving his Sc.D. in 1890 and his M.D. in 1891. In 1894, he studied at the Pathological Institute in Prague and in 1897, he worked at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
With his research and study, Novy was becoming recognized for his work in bacteriology and communicable diseases. In 1901, he agreed to served on a commission established to study an outbreak of what some considered to be bubonic plague in San Francisco. Through his writings and speeches, Novy was attempting to educate the public on the role of bacteria in the spread of disease. In his research, Novy concentrated on trypanosomes and spirochetes and later in his career on the study of the metabolism of microorganisms, particularly the tubercle bacillus.
Although his career was largely devoted to research, Novy also was an important member of the University of Michigan Medical School serving as chairman of the executive committee from 1930 to 1933 and dean from 1933 to 1935. He died August 8, 1957.