Lives of the fellows

El-Sayed Khalil Assem

b.25 January 1932 d.13 September 2009
MB BCh Cairo(1955) Dip Med(1959) DCH(1960) PhD Lond(1964) MRCP(1966) MRCP Edin(1966) FRCP Edin(1975) FRCP Glasg(1981) FRCPath(1982) FRCP(1997)

El-Sayed Khalil Assem was a reader in immunopharmacology at University College London. Born in Cairo, he was the son of El-Sayed Ahmed, a chemist and metallurgist, and his wife, Fatima née Khalil. Educated at King Farouk School in Cairo, he studied medicine at Ain Shams University Medical College and Ain Shams University Hospital (ASUH), also in Cairo. On qualifying in 1955, he did house jobs at the ASUH from 1956 to 1959 when he became a research assistant for two years at the same hospital.

In 1961 he moved to the UK, which he made his home for most of his life. He attended the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and then University College Hospital (UCH). Obtaining a PhD from University College London (UCL) in 1964, he then spent some time at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary before returning to UCH in 1966. Simultaneously, he was awarded a Wellcome research fellowship in the department of pharmacology at UCL. This was followed by a senior research fellowship which led the way to an academic career. Appointed a reader in immunopharmacology in 1993, he was made an emeritus reader in 1997. He also continued his clinical work being appointed honorary consultant physician in clinical immunology and allergy at UCH in 1972. Until his death, he continued to carry out research and some clinical work.

In his early research, he explored the response of the heart to an allergic reaction and the mechanisms of kidney infections. He did pioneering work on life-threatening reactions to drugs. Further investigations included the role of histamines and inflammatory disorders. He also studied the immunopharmacology of asthma. The editor of Allergic reactions to anaesthetics (Basel, New York, Karger, 1992), he was the author of over 190 publications, largely as original research papers. Topics included immunopharmacology, endocrinology and, latterly, allergic diseases including asthma, rhinitis and drug-induced allergies. He was a founding contributor to the European journal of immunopharmacology and a founding member of the UK Egyptian Medical Society.

A man with great energy and enthusiasm for life, he enjoyed long distance swimming, soccer and music. He took part in several swimathons for various charities including the North London hospice group.

In 1960 he married Anahid Ahmed Wahba Kheir-Eldin (‘Anna’), who was initially a biochemist and later, an accountant. They had two sons. She often accompanied her husband to scientific meetings. When he died, Anna and their sons survived him.

RCP editor

[Inflamm res 2010 59 (suppl 2) 183-4]

(Volume XII, page web)

<< Back to List