The son of a microscopist, Joseph Lister became a famous surgeon and a great promoter of antiseptic surgery. After studying medicine in London, he moved to Edinburgh where he worked for another famous surgeon, Professor James Syme. In 1869 Lister was made professor of clinical surgery, a post he held until 1877. At the time, septic diseases such as gangrene caused high mortality rates among patients in the ever enlarging Victorian hospital wards. As well as promoting general cleanliness, Lister pioneered the idea of antiseptic dressing of wounds to prevent germs from entering. His attacks on traditional medicine in favour of a more scientific approach caused controversy amongst his colleagues. Nevertheless, he is now largely credited with the revolution in antiseptic surgery.