A3: Epithet Epitaph- Nancy F. Millis

Millisia brevis is a type of fermenting bacteria that produces mycolic acid and is found in activated sludges (wastewater treatment process) in Australia.   This bacterium is named after the Australian  microbiologist, Nancy Millis (1922-2012). The word brevis  means short, branched rods. It is an actinomycete, a gram-positive bacterium.

Millis was born in Melbourne Australia in 1922 and was one of six children in her family. After high school she first completed training at a business school but after a few “dreadful” years of working in this industry, she enrolled in an Australian university to study agriculture and earned her bachelor’s degree.

She traveled to Papua New Guinea to educate women on various types of agriculture methods. Unfortunately, she had to end her time there because an illness she caught almost took her life. After this she went on to work at various universities around the world in Europe and Asia and earned her PhD from University of Bristol in 1952. She was the first person to introduce applied microbiology courses.


“Professor Nancy Millis, microbiologist.” Australian Academy of Science. 2001.  https://www.science.org.au/learning/general-audience/history/interviews-australian-scientists/professor-nancy-millis

“Millisia brevis.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 24 Mar. 2018.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millisia_brevis

 gen. nov., sp. nov., an actinomycete isolated from activated sludge foam.”    International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 56: 739-744.  Retrieved from:  https://ijs.microbiologyresearch.org/content/journal/ijsem/10.1099/ijs.0.63855-0#tab2

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