Obituary: Dr John Paul

John Paul, physician: born Wishaw, Motherwell 1922; Research Fellowship, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York 1952-53; Director, Tissue Culture Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry, Glasgow University 1953-66; Reader 1961-64, Titular Professor 1964-66; Director, Cancer Research Laboratories, Royal Beatson Memorial Hospital, Glasgow 1966-70; founding director, Beatson Institute for Cancer Research 1970-87; married 1960 Eleanor Rae Turnbull (two sons; one daughter); died 27 June 1994.

JOHN PAUL, director of the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, near Glasgow, from 1970 to 1987, was known, well-liked and highly respected across a wide spectrum of scientists engaged in research into the cellular and molecular biology of normal development and of cancer.

Paul qualified initially in medicine at Glasgow University, in 1944, then went on to complete a PhD there in biochemistry, a relatively new discipline in those days. Paul's ability to recognise areas of biomedical research at the forefront of scientific progress was to be a hallmark of his whole career. After two years in Edinburgh and New York, he joined the Biochemistry Department at Glasgow as Director of the Tissue Culture Laboratory in 1953.

Paul was among the first scientists in the world to realise that the culture of human and mammalian cells in the laboratory would become a key tool in the development of research into the biology of cells. He helped to advance this technique, ran several courses to pass it on to others, and wrote what became the authoritative text on the subject for many years. He also recognised the importance of understanding how genes regulate the synthesis of proteins and, with his colleagues, was the first to demonstrate tissue-specific differences. Armed with new knowledge on mechanisms of cellular regulation, he directed his team into the study of abnormal development in cancer, employing and developing with them the new tools of genetic engineering.

His efforts were recognised internationally, as exemplified by his many invitations to present at international meetings and the acclaim attributed to his scientific publications. During his most productive years his publications were among the 1,000 most-cited scientific papers in the world. His achievements were ultimately recognised by Glasgow University by the award of the honorary DSc.

Although his outstanding career in research was sufficient to earn him a place in scientific history, he also achieved distinction by founding in 1970 the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, one of only four such institutes in Britain, and an internationally acclaimed centre for excellence in cancer research. The institute was originally housed in the Cancer Research Laboratories of the Royal Beatson Memorial Hospital in Glasgow, but Paul moved the Institute to new, purpose-built premises in 1976, obtaining support from the Wolfson Foundation to construct a new and sophisticated laboratory, suitable for the highly advanced technology now required. Not only did Paul conceive the idea of a research institute, and recognise the need for suitable accommodation, he also proposed the fundamental design of the laboratory, which remains a classic example of ergonomic

efficiency.

Paul was supported throughout his career by many prestigious granting authorities, such as the Medical Research Council, the Scottish Hospitals Endowment Research Trust, and the National Institutes of Health of the USA. Latterly, he was awarded substantial and continued support by the Cancer Research Campaign. As well as expertly directing the research of the institute, he supervised the administration with equal skill, earning admiration and respect from those who worked with him, regardless of the duty that they performed.

Throughout the years of his increasing recognition by the scientific community, he remained approachable, was a sympathetic listener and had an almost legendary store of solid common sense to defuse any crisis. He was a boyish figure, even though grey-haired at an early age, and quick to share a joke. He earned respect without being domineering, largely by exercising excellent judgement of people and situations.

(Photograph omitted)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game