b.29 April 1878 d.13 August 1937
MA Edin(1903) MB ChB Edin(1908) MRCP(1930) FRCP(1936)
Professor John Thomson was the son of William Thomson, F.E.I.S., of Edinburgh, and Mary (Gordon) Thomson. He was educated at Bathgate Academy and Edinburgh University. In 1905 he was senior Mackenzie bursar and was elected anatomy prosector to Professor D. J. Cunningham, and in 1910 pathologist to the Royal Southern Hospital, Liverpool. From 1912 to 1913 he was clinical and pathological fellow at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, from which he went with a Beit memorial fellowship to the London School of Tropical Medicine early in 1914. With Professor Leiper, F.R.S., he went as a captain, R.A.M.C., on the mission to investigate bilharzia in the troops in Egypt which led to the working out of the life-history of the schistosoma haematobium in fresh-water snails. Later he served with the Central Military and the 17th Military Hospitals in Alexandria and did excellent work on bacillary and amoebic dysentery.
Early in 1918 he was recalled to collaborate with Sir Ronald Ross in malarial research. After the war he returned to the London School of Tropical Medicine. In 1926 he was exchange lecturer in protozoology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene, four years after he studied blackwater fever in Southern Rhodesia. Just before his death he was appointed director of the Horton Malaria Therapy Centre at Epsom.
Thomson was an excellent teacher, popular with his staff and his students, and was well-known for his charity and benevolence. He married Hilda Burgess, the daughter of Mark Burgess, of Alderley Edge. They had a son and a daughter.
Richard R Trail
[Brit.med.J., 1937, 2, 394-5 (p); J.Path.Bact., 1937, 45, 779-82 (p); Lancet, 1937, 2, 473; Nature (Lond.), 1937, 140, 495; Times, 16 Aug. 1937.]
(Volume V, page 411)
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