Obituary: Professor Leslie Young

Leslie Young, biochemist, born 27 February 1911, Professor of Biochemistry University of Toronto 1944-47, Reader in Biochemistry University College London 1947-48, Professor of Biochemistry London University and Head of Department of Biochemistry St Thomas's Hospital Medical School 1948-76 (Emeritus), married 1939 Ruth Elliott (one son), died London 26 December 1992.

LESLIE YOUNG was one of a small group of workers who put the study of foreign compound metabolism on to a sure footing.

Young established a school of research alongside those of Eric Boyland and the late Tecwyn Williams which played a significant role in determining how the body copes with unfamiliar foreign, or toxic, compounds and how in turn it alters the structure of their molecules.

These studies were the forerunners of modern, rigorous work on environmental and other pollutants. While much of the early work, begun in the Thirties, concerned only whole-animal metabolism, it developed to explore isolated organs, cells and enzymes, establishing valuable knowledge of the mechanism of action of biochemical pathways.

After attending Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School, in Rochester, Leslie Young went to the Royal College of Science, Kensington (later the Imperial College of Science and Technology) to take his BSc in chemistry; he was awarded the Sir Edward Frankland Prize and Medal of the Royal Institute of Chemistry. Research with the nutritionist Sir Jack Drummond at University College London followed, culminating in the award of the Ph D in 1934. After a year on the staff at University College Young went as Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Biochemistry to Washington, Missouri and Yale before being appointed Lecturer in Biochemistry back at University College in 1937. The war years were spent as Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, a post combined with work in chemical warfare on behalf of the Department of National Defence in Canada, which involved research with radioactive isotopes into the effects of nitrogen and sulphur mustard gases. From 1944 until 1947, Young was full professor at Toronto.

When Young returned to England in 1947 he was appointed Reader at University College London, to establish the MSc degree in biochemistry. Afterwards, he was appointed Professor of Biochemistry in the University at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, a post he held for 28 years until his retirement in 1976. Young refurbished the antiquated teaching and research areas of the department, and later secured modernised laboratories. He gathered around him a succession of postgraduate students and junior staff to help further his research into the metabolism of foreign compounds.

Young excelled as an administrator and teacher. Never did he go into a debating chamber or a committee meeting other than thoroughly prepared, thereby securing and recommending courses of action based on sure knowledge of facts and figures. He was therefore an invaluable member and chairman of university and college committees and was Honorary Secretary of the Biochemical Society. His lectures were likewise a model of scrupulous preparation and clear diction, an attitude he constantly strove to impart to the lecturers in his department. He insisted on meticulous attention to detail in all things, be they lectures, tutorials or experiments at the laboratory bench. Woe betide any junior member of staff who ever was unprepared. As well as numerous publications in the biochemical literature, Young published, with George Maw, a monograph entitled The Metabolism of Sulphur Compounds (1958).

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?