The Bevan Lecture
Professor Alan Bevan
Born and raised in Ammanford, South Wales, Alan Bevan as a teenager at Amman Valley Grammar School was interested in science. Perhaps because his mother was a horticulturist who owned a small plant nursery, he decided to focus on plant breeding and took a first class honours degree in agricultural botany at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth, well aware that the famed of Welsh Plant Breeding Station was located there.
Graduating in 1947, he decided to concentrate on microbial genetics and went to Glasgow for his PhD where, under the supervision of the internationally renowned Guido Pontecorvo, he developed modified methods for yeast genetic analysis which became the main focus for many years of his subsequent research.
After three years as a Lecturer in Genetics at Dartmouth College (New Hampshire), he returned to the UK in 1954 as Lecturer in Genetics at the Oxford University Botany School. In 1964 he was appointed Professor and head of the Department of Botany at the then Queen Mary College. Becoming Professor of Genetics in 1976, he remained at Queen Mary until retirement in 1991.
Much of his research followed from his discovery in Oxford of “killer” strains of Saccharomyces yeast. He showed that these carried two types of RNA viruses, the presence of which caused the cells to secrete a toxin which killed “sensitive” strains lacking one or both of the RNA types. “Neutral” strains were also found which neither produced the toxin nor were killed by it. The occurrence of contaminant killer yeast strains has been shown to be responsible the failure of industrial fermentations. The novelty and significance of Bevan’s work ensured that research students, post-docs. and academic visitors came to his laboratory in a steady stream. Serving on the editorial board of genetics journals and on the committees of learned societies, he became a well-known figure at yeast genetics conferences.
He had a major influence on the development of the biological sciences at the Queen Mary College, setting out to widen and modernize his department by making key staff appointments in biochemistry, genetics and microbiology. His inaugural lecture on “The segregation and recombination of the life sciences” reflected his opinion, now widely accepted, that the division of biology into a series of notionally separate sciences was quite arbitrary and he pressed for a unified School of Biological Sciences which became a reality in 1972 in a new building for which he had been the major driving force.
Bevan played a major part in the overall life of the college: Dean of the Faculty of Sciences (1973-6), Member of the Governing Body and of its Standing Committee (1971-4) and, starting in 1969, Member of the BLQ Joint Policy Committee which oversaw the coming together of Queen Mary College, London Hospital Medical College and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, leading eventually to the present integrated pre-clinical school on the Mile End campus. Last, but by no means least, he took the first steps of what later became the merger between QMC and Westfield College when, in 1982-4, the two biology departments at Westfield (Botany and Biochemistry, and Zoology), together with several chemists, physicists and mathematicians, moved to Queen Mary.
The interests of this remarkably vigorous man extended far beyond Mile End. He was extremely active in the central councils of London University and its various schools, serving on the Court, the Senate and the Academic Council for six years as well as on many other university bodies too numerous to mention here. He also found time to sit on the Audit and Joint Planning Committees of the Institute of Education, the Finance and Executive Committee of Wye College, the Planning and Promotion Committees of Goldsmith College as well as being Governor and Chairman of the Audit Committee of the School of Pharmacy. In his spare time presumably (though it is surprising he had any), he was the University of London’s representative on some of Bromley Council’s education committee and on the Council of Kent University.
His retirement meant the college saying farewell to one of its liveliest academics, a man known, liked and respected throughout the campus community as well as in the halls of the university. It is proper and fitting that this series of lectures should carry his name.
|2009||Professor Lorna Casselton, FRS (Oxford)||Fungal genetics - Old triumphs and new challenges|
|2010||Professor John S Parker (Cambridge)||Who taught Darwin? The origin of the Origin considered|
|2011-12||Professor Nick Barton FRS
|The role of recombination in evolution|
|2012-13||Professor Mark Chase FRS (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)||Why are there so many angiosperms with low chromosome numbers when polyploidy has been so frequent? A case study of Nicotiana (Solanaceae)|
|2014-15||Professor James Shapiro OBE (University of Chicago)||What molecular biology teaches us about genomes: 60+ years of surprises|
|2015-16||Professor Chris Stringer FRS (Natural History Museum)||The relationship of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens|
The Dewar Lecture
Professor Michael J. S. Dewar (1918-1997)
Michael Dewar was born in Ahmednagar, India on the 24th of September 1918, where his father worked as a British civil servant. He was sent to England aged 8 where he was first educated at Winchester before going up to the University of Oxford where he received his BA, MA and DPhil degrees. He was a chemist of diverse and penetrating insights. He first came to the attention of the chemical world with a publication in Nature in 1945, in which he formulated the mould metabolite stipitatic acid (the structure of which had baffled organic chemists for some years) with a seven-membered ring: this may be said to have been the start of research into non-benzenoid aromatic systems, which was followed up extensively in laboratories all over the world. His first book, “The Electronic Theory of Organic Chemistry", Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1949, was the first of its kind to examine organic reactions from the point of view of molecular orbital (MO) theory. He was appointed to the Chair in Chemistry at Queen Mary College of the University of London in 1951. During his time at QM, Dewar developed PMO Theory, a rigorous perturbational MO treatment whose basis lies in quantum mechanics. He published six classic papers on perturbation molecular orbital (PMO) theory back-to-back in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He applied this new theory to the structure of metal-olefin π-complexes containing dative bonds where the donor and/or acceptor orbitals are MOs. This interpretation later became known as the Dewar-Chatt-Duncanson Model. Dewar was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society for his work at QM but he shocked the world when he moved to the Kharasch Chair at the University of Chicago in 1959, mainly because the Physics Department was favoured with a new building ahead of Chemistry! He made another surprising move to the first Robert A. Welsh chair at the University of Texas, Austin a few years later where he exploited the new and powerful computer they had there at the time. He used this computer to develop semi-empirical MO methods known as SCF-MO, MINDO, MNDO, DEWAR-PI, AM1, and SAM-1 the basis of which are still in use today. He made his final move to the University of Florida as a Graduate Research Professor, in 1989 before he retired there in 1994 as Professor Emeritus. The honours accorded to Michael Dewar included the Tilden and Robert Robinson Lectureships of the Chemical Society (1954, and 1974, respectively), the Davy Medal of the Royal Society of London (1982), the James Flack Norris Award of the American Chemical Society (1984), the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry (1989), and the American Chemical Society Award for Computers in Chemistry (1994). It is especially notable that he was a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London, a status achieved by extremely few scientists. In view of the significance of his contributions to chemistry, it is surprising that the Nobel Prize was not to be among his many honours. He died on October 10, 1997, in Gainesville, Florida, at the age of 79, his wife having passed away 3 years earlier. He is survived by two sons C. E. Steuart Dewar and Robert B. K. Dewar. It is anticipated that they will be attending the inaugural Dewar lecture.
Dewar lectures delivered in QMUL since 2008 are as follows:
|2008||Professor F A Armstrong, FRS (Oxford)||Rapid and efficient production and oxidation of hydrogen by air-sensitive metalloenzymes: electrochemistry, mechanisms, and implications for life and energy|
|2009||Professor D G Blackmond (Imperial College London)||Models for the origin of biological homochirality|
|2011||Professor B L Feringa (Netherlands)||The art of building small.
From molecular switches to molecular motors
|2012||Professor C A Hunter, FRS
|The Anatomy of Complex Recognition Interfaces|
|2013-14||Professor Graham Hutchings (Cardiff)|
|2014-15||Professor David Leigh FRS (University of Manchester)|
|2015-16||Professor Judith Howard (University of Durham)||Unusual structures related to Dewar's work: a crystallographer's story|
|2016-17||Professor Harry Anderson (University of Oxford)||Synthesis and photophysics of light harvesting nanorings: flow and energy charge in porphyrin arrays|
The Drummond Lecture
Sir Jack Drummond (1891-1952)
This lecture series, usually held annually at Queen Mary, University of London, originated in 1978 and is dedicated to Sir Jack Drummond who was the first Professor of
Biochemistry in the University of London (at University College). Sir Jack graduated in Chemistry from Queen Mary College (then called East London College) in 1912. He pioneered research on vitamins in the 1930s and played a key role during the Second World War in advising Lord Woolton at the Ministry of Food about vitamin supplements to rations. He was also involved with setting up MAFF. He was given a knighthood for his contributions in this area.
The salient points of Jack Drummond's life are:
- 1912 Graduated in Chemistry (QMC - then called East London College).
- First Professor of Biochemistry at University College London.
- 1930's and 1940's - Pioneered research on vitamins.
- Advised Lord Woolton at the Ministry of food about vitamin supplements in rations during WWII.
- Knighted during World War II.
- Key role in setting up MAFF.
- Murdered with wife and daughter whilst on holiday in France (1952).
Further details can be found in a memoir written by Frank Young (Obit. Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, 1954, 9, 99-128).
In the early 1970s a group of chemists and biologists at Queen Mary College (initially G F Betts, R Bonnett, D A McCarthy, V Moses, G P Moss, T G Nichols and D G Springham) sought to raise the level of activity and awareness in the biochemical area at the College, especially in regard to a collaborative approach to teaching and research. In 1976, a Biochemistry Group was set up by the Academic Board for this purpose. As part of its activity, the Biochemistry Group decided to introduce an annual lecture named for Sir Jack Drummond, and the necessary approvals were obtained from both the College and Drummond's family for this. It turned out that Drummond had no surviving blood relatives, but his first wife (Mabel Drummond, who had also graduated from East London College in 1912) warmly approved the proposal. She wrote on March 19th 1978:
Dear Professor Bonnett,
Thank you for much for sending me the poster about the first Drummond lecture. It is thoughtful of you to let me know about it, and a comfort to me to realise that Jack is still remembered in his old college.
We were very pleased to have the family represented at the First Drummond Lecture by Dr Sheila Tyrrell, Jack Drummond's niece by marriage.
The Lecture has been supported since 1978 by the Drummond Memorial Fund set up (at University College, London) for 'the advancement of knowledge and promotion and encouragement of education and research in nutrition and branches of science related thereto', and by Queen Mary, University of London.
The lectures delivered in this College since 1978 are as follows:
|1978||Professor D M Blow, FRS (Imperial College London)||Chymotrypsin and its mode of action|
|1979||Professor R L Wain, CBE, FRS (Canterbury)||Chemicals which regulate plant growth|
|1980||Professor H R V Arnstein (Kings College London)||Ribosomes, protein factors and the control of protein biosynthesis|
|1981||Professor Brenda E Ryman (Charing Cross Hospital Medical School)||Liposomes - from model membranes to carriers of therapeutic agents|
|1982||Professor E M Crook (Bart's Hospital Medical College)||Food and the rise of biotechnology|
|1983||Professor H Baum (Chelsea College, London)||The mystery of antimitochondrial antibodies in man|
|1984||Professor A R Fersht, FRS (Imperial College)||Site-directed mutagenesis of enzyme structure and activity|
|1985||Professor D Robinson (Newcastle)||Genetic effects on enzyme levels|
|1986||Dr Aaron Klug, FRS (Cambridge)||The structure of chromatin|
|1987||Professor J R Postgate, FRS (Sussex)||The molecular enzymology of nitrogenase|
|1988||Professor R J P Williams, FRS (Oxford)||Electronic and electrolytic devices in biology|
|1989||Dr P D J Weitzman (South Glamorgan)||The citric acid cycle: variety's the very spice of life|
|1991||Professor T L Blundell (Birkbeck)||Enzyme three-dimensional structure and rational drug design|
|1993||Professor J John Holbrook (Bristol)||Opportunities and limits in the creation of new enzyme proteins by man and nature|
|1994||Dr P R Rich (Glynn Research Institute)||The molecular basis of energy transduction in photosynthesis and respiration|
|1995||Professor M Akhtar, FRS (Southampton)||The dioxygen-iron bond: from rust to sex|
|1996||Professor R Cogdell (Glasgow)||The structural basis of harvesting of light energy in purple photosynthetic bacteria. A circular argument|
|1997||Professor S K Chapman (Edinburgh)||Flavocytochromes: Nature's electrical transformers|
|1998||Professor S Ferguson (Oxford)||Biological nitrogen cycles: how they work at a molecular level|
|1999||Professor I Campbell, FRS (Oxford)||Modular Proteins in cell adhesion and signalling|
|2000||Dr Bob Baxter (Edinburgh)||Vitamins and coenzymes - Nature's magic reagents|
|2001||Professor Nigel S. Scrutton (Leicester)||Particles, waves and bangs: do we really understand how enzymes work?|
|2002||Professor John Allen (Lund)||The balancing act. Redox poise and signalling|
|2003||Professor C. Neil Hunter (Sheffield)||Painting the planet green: from porphyrin to chlorophyll in six easy steps|
|2004||Professor Chris Abell (Cambridge)||From Biosynthesis to Biotech|
|2005||Professor Jim Barber (Imperial College)||Photosystem II, the water splitting enzyme of photosynthesis: Structure and Mechanisms|
|2006||Professor Sir Alan Fersht, FRS (Cambridge)||The structure and stability of the tumour suppressor p53|
|2007||Professor James H Naismith, FRSE (St Andrews)||Carbohydrate export from bacteria|
|2008||Professor Wolfgang Junge (Osnabrück, Germany)||Mechanics of rotary ATP-synthase|
|2009||Dr Leslie Dutton (Pennsylvania, USA)||Engineering artificial protein functions|
|2010||Professor Martin Warren (Kent)||Synthetic biology - new life for molecular science|
|2011||Professor Alfred William Rutherford
|Photosynthetic Reaction Centres – an Evolutionary View|
|2015||Sir Venki Ramakrishnan FRS|
|2016||Professor Paula Booth||Biological self-assembly: natural and artificial membranes|
|2017||Professor Sabine Flitsch (University of Manchester)||Title TBC|
The Fogg Lecture
Professor Gordon E (Tony) Fogg, CBE, FRS
As a school-boy I was particularly lucky with two things. I spent nearly all holidays on my grand-parents' farm and, when my father, a Methodist minister, was posted to Greenwich, his encouragement to learn and a London County Council scholarship enabled me to go to nearby Dulwich College. From there I went on to Queen Mary College to study botany under the benign but thorough tuition of Professor F E Fritsch, FRS. When the Second World War broke out I was evacuated as a research student with the College to Cambridge. There I was able to do work on nitrogen fixation by blue-green algae off and on but my two major war occupations were to take part in the Ministry of Supply seaweed survey (to locate sources of the essential chemicals agar and alginate) and research on improvement of weedkillers for agriculture. In the course of this I was transferred to St John's College, Cambridge, and obtained my PhD.
After the war I was taken on as a member of his staff by Professor W H Pearsall, FRS, who was re-establishing the Botany Department in the ruins of University College London. He had half-a dozen inexperienced young men whom he guided expertly but light-heartedly - he was the perfect head of department. After fifteen years I was deemed sufficiently competent to become Professor of Botany at Westfield College London to re-establish the department there. I was able to follow Pearsall's path and gathered extremely able staff, amongst whom were three, to become professors themselves in due course - William Stewart, Tony Walsby and Peter Fay - who did splendid work on blue-green algae and earned me an FRS. I think my time at Westfield was the happiest of my academic life and I feel proud that a remnant of the Westfield staff still provides a valuable element in the School of Biological Sciences in Queen Mary, University of London.
By 1971 I was hankering to concentrate on marine microbiology, my wife wanted to live by the sea, and I was tired of commuting into London. The Marine Science Laboratories at Menai Bridge on the Isle of Anglesey had excellent staff, good equipment, and a fine research vessel, but the easy relationships of Westfield were not very evident and soon the general financial hardships of the 1980s set in. I was able to do some reasonable work on organic extracellular products in seawater and on the biological significance of the tidal fronts in the Irish Sea, but I think my major achievement was to hold things in the Menai Bridge Laboratories together until 1985, when I retired, and a new principal of the University College and more money gave them fresh life. In all this time I was involved with various scientific societies and organisations, including the Freshwater Biological Association, the Institute of Biology, the Society for Experimental Biology, the British Phycological Society, the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, the British Museum (Natural History), the Marine Biological Association, and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. All interesting, time-consuming, and, one supposes, useful, but of all of them my predominant devotion has been to Antarctic Science. A casual conversation in 1965 led to three visits under British Antarctic Survey auspices, in which I was able to do research without administrators getting in my way and to be an administrative incubus myself from 1970-86 as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Survey. Later I have been to polar regions on several tourist ships and written three books on polar matters. Now, in retirement and a widower, the growing general interest in the Antarctic gives me stimulus to keep going.
We heard on 2 February 2005 that Professor Fogg has died after a short illness.
The lectures delivered in QMUL since 2002 are as follows:
|2002||Professor G.E. Fogg||The Blooming of Phytoplankton Ecology|
|2003||Professor Tony Walsby FRS (Bristol)||Natural Selection in Planktonic Cyanobacteria|
|2004||Professor Nicholas H Mann (Warwick)||The impact of Viruses on Photosynthesis in the Oceans|
|2005||Cancelled due to illness of the proposed speaker|
|2006||Professor Patrick M. Holligan (Southampton)||A Changing Global Perspective of Coccolithophore Biology|
|2007||Professor Paul Hayes (Bristol)||From Phytoplankton Ecology to Cultures and Back Again|
|2008||Professor Paul G Falkowski (New Jersey, USA)||The rise of oxygen and frozen metabolic machines in the evolution of plants and animals|
|2011-12||Dr William Martin (Germany)||The origin and early evolution of eukaryotes: endosymbiosis and ocean chemistry|
|2012-13||Professor David Bastviken
|Aquatic methane cycling versus the global greenhouse gas budget|
|2013-14||Professor Richard J. Geider (University of Essex)||Insights into the lifestyle of an important marine microbe, the coccolithphorid Emiliania huxleyi|
|2014-14||Dr David Atkinson (University of Liverpool)||Body size, shape, and the pace of life|
|2015-16||Professor Jane Memmot (University of Bristol)||The conservation, restoration and utilization of ecological interactions|
The Wills Lecture
Professor Eric D Wills, Sc.D. (1921-1985)
Professor Eric Wills unexpectedly died following a heart attack on Easter Saturday in 1985. As the longest serving member of the academic staff at Charterhouse Square, he had become a Bart's institution, rising from Demonstrator in Biochemistry on his appointment in 1948 to Professor (in 1978) and Head of Department in 1982 following Eric Crook's retirement. His wise and sensitive leadership guided the Department through the considerable difficulties of the early 1980s and he left behind a happy and harmonious team of colleagues.
His first degree was in Chemistry at Queen Mary College. During the war he saw active service in command of a R.E.M.E. mobile electronics workshop, prior to work in a training section of the War Office, which he left with the rank of Major.
Returning to civilian life, he spent a year researching into lipid peroxidation at Chelsea College, and then went to Cambridge to study Biochemistry. On graduation he was appointed Demonstrator in Biochemistry at Bart's under the late Professor Arthur Wormall, FRS. His Ph.D. soon followed with some interesting work on the action of trypanocide suramin on enzymes. The degree of Sc.D. (Cantab.) was conferred on him in 1978.
In 1956-7 he won a Senior Fulbridge Travel Scholarship and spent the year at the University of Vermont on an exchange with Professor Arnold Schein. He was greatly struck by the maturity of American medical students and their keen commitment to their studies. He returned bringing with him the innovation of Multiple Choice Questions, which were promptly introduced into Departmental examinations and which he maintained provided an objective yardstick for assessment. He always had a great interest in teaching methods, and was an enthusiastic member of a group which met at the Institute of Education in the sixties to discuss various aspects of teaching medical students. In 1968 he organised at Bart's a very successful small international meeting on practical biochemistry in the medical curriculum.
Meanwhile, he had been building up a research group whose major interest started with studies on the effects of radiation on enzymes, lysosomes and cell membranes using the 15 MeV linear accelerator that had been recently installed in the College, and later a Cobalt-60 irradiation source. This led to studies on the mechanism of lipid peroxidation in cells and the biochemical effects of these peroxides. Later, he and his group investigated the metabolism of drugs and carcinogens in the endoplasmic reticulum, and especially the effects of the lipid composition of the diet. He was internationally recognised as an authority on these topics, and had served for two years on a DHSS advisory committee on irradiation and novel foods.
Eric always took a great interest in furthering the interests of Biochemistry in the University and recently served as Chairman of the University Board of Studies. In addition he was a member of the Boards of Studies in Nutrition and Radiation Biology. In the College he became Treasurer, as well as serving on the College Council, Executive Committee, Joint Research Board and Ethical Committee.
This bare outline of Eric's career and academic interests gives little indication of the man behind it all. He was a shy man who often seemed unduly inquisitive about others, and he may at times have seemed a little intimidating to students. Beneath these appearances lay a friendly and caring personality. He had a real concern for his staff, defending their interests strongly, and a genuine interest in the progress of his students. Eric was blessed with a good sense of humour, and the ability to withstand having his leg pulled would help in defusing awkward or tense moments. He was often provocative in questioning traditional attitudes and opinions so that he caused colleagues think seriously about many subjects. Eric held strong views about the sort of students that should be admitted to Bart's, and it is perhaps a pity that he did not have more say in choosing them.
Soccer was a great interest, and he refereed for many years in amateur league matches in South London. His interest in teaching was apparent here, for he introduced Multiple Choice Questions into the training of would-be referees, though what they thought of this was never revealed. He was a keen yachtsman and kept a good-sized vessel in Poole Harbour where he spent many weekends and holidays in an old house that he inherited and largely refurbished himself. He was also the proud possessor of a vintage Rolls Royce on which much care and attention was lavished. At the other end of the scale, so to speak, Eric was daily to be seen cycling between Bart's and London Bridge and also on many journeys about London.
Wills lectures delivered in this College since 1991 are as follows:
|1991||Professor Bob Williamson (St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London)||Molecular Genetics - will it replace Biochemistry completely or only partially?|
|1992||Professor András Spät (Semmelweis University of Medicine, Budapest)||The control and role of voltage-dependent calcium channels in adrenal glomerulosa cells|
|1993||Professor C N Hales, FRS (University of Cambridge Department of Clinical Biochemistry)||Exploring the Pathophysiology of Type 2 Diabetes|
|1995||Dr Kevin J Catt (National Institutes of Child Health Department of Health & Human Services)||Angiotensin-II Receptors: Structure & Signal Transduction Pathways|
|1999||Professor Misuhiru Okamoto (University of Osaka)||Mechanisms of steroid hydroxylation and aldosterone biosynthesis|
|2002||Professor David Rice (University of Sheffield)||From gene structure to protein function; the application of protein crystallography to problems in molecular biology|
|2003||Professor Christopher Dobson, FRS (Cambridge)||Protein misfolding and its links with human disease|
|2004||Professor Janet Thornton, CBE, FRS (Cambridge)||The Proteome and the Metabolome|
|2005||Professor Sir John Walker, FRS (Cambridge)||The swings and roundabouts of F- and V-ATPases|
|2006||Professor Dame Louise Johnson, FRS (Oxford)||Cell cycle protein kinase inhibition and substrate recognition|
|2007||Professor Sheena Radford (Leeds)||Life on a knife edge: tipping the balance between protein folding and aggregation|
|2008||Professor Geoff McFadden (Melbourne, Australia)||Cancelled|
|2009||Professor Paul Freemont (London)||Spatial information at different scales- organising the mammalian nucleus and regulating protein turnover|
|2010||Professor David Barford FRS (London)||Structural and functional studies of the anaphase promoting complex: a macromolecular machine regulating the cell cycle|
|2011||Sir Tim Hunt FRS (London)||Switches and latches: the control of mitosis|
|2015-16||Andrew Carter (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology)||Transporting cargo over long distances: insights from dynein/dynactin structures|
|2016-17||Professor Nigel Robinson (University of Durham)||Metal-protein speciation: the elemental logic of cells|