Lives of the fellows

John Howard Tyrer

b.22 April 1920 d.6 June 2006
CBE MB BS Sydney(1942) MD(1953) FRACP(1957) MRCP Edin(1967) FRCP(1968) FRCP Edin(1970)

John Howard Tyrer was professor of medicine at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He was born in Sydney, the son of Sydney John Tyrer, a businessman, and Emma Jane Tyrer née Woodward, the daughter of an engineer. He was educated at Bellevue Hill and then Sydney Boys’ High School. He studied medicine at the University of Sydney, qualifying in 1942 with first class honours and the university medal.

From 1942 to 1943 he was a resident medical officer at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. He then joined the Royal Australian Air Force, and was a flight lieutenant in a research unit.

After the war, he undertook further training in pathology and medicine at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and gained his MD for research into the cardiovascular physiology of sheep. He became an assistant physician to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and spent 1953 to 1954 at the London Hospital on a travelling fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, working with Sir Russell Brain [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VI, p.60].

In 1954 Tyrer became the first full-time professor of medicine at the University of Queensland. He occupied the chair for the next 31 years, built up the university department and became a major driving force behind the development of medical research in Queensland.

He wrote 10 books and over 100 papers on scientific topics, including aphasia, on the oxidative enzyme histochemistry of the brain and on aspects of clinical neuropharmacology. He also wrote a history of Brisbane Hospital (History of Brisbane Hospital and its affiliates: a pilgrim’s progress Brisbane, Boolarong with Royal Brisbane Hospital, 1993).

He was an honorary member of Société Française de Neurologie.

Following his retirement he taught pathology part-time to medical students and also worked with children with language difficulties.

In 1949 Tyrer married Marion Erica Morris. They had three sons. He died in Brisbane aged 86.

RCP editor

[The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh – accessed 14 February 2014]

(Volume XII, page web)

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