Cyril Clarke - Genetics of Lepidoptera, Timeline and Childhood

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Cyril Clarke's Personal Details

Sir Cyril Astley Clarke was a British physicist and scientist known for his work on prevention of Rh disease of the newborn

InformationDetail
BirthdaySeptember 22, 1907
Died onNovember 21, 2000
NationalityBritish
FamousGenetics of Lepidoptera, Pioneering Work on Prevention of Rh Disease, Physicians, Geneticists
SpousesFrieda Clarke
Known asSir Cyril Astle Clarke
Universities
  • Guy's Hospital
  • Gonville and Caius College
  • Cambridge
Birth PlaceEngland
GenderMale
Sun SignVirgo
Born inEngland
Famous asPioneering work on prevention of Rh disease, and genetics of lepidoptera
Died at Age93

// Famous Genetics of Lepidoptera

Cyril Clarke's photo

Who is Cyril Clarke?

Sir Cyril Astley Clarke was a British physicist and scientist known for his pioneering work on prevention of Rh hemolytic disease of the newborn, a potentially fatal disease that may occur when a fetus and its mother have incompatible blood Rh factors. Once it was believed by the medical fraternity that there was no way of preventing this disease but the enterprising doctor proved the naysayers wrong by working along with a dedicated team of medical practitioners to develop a treatment for this dangerous condition. He was not just a highly skilled physician, but also a renowned geneticist and lepidopterist. His life-long interest in butterflies and moths began in his childhood when he became fascinated with swallowtail butterflies. He would induce the butterflies to mate and study the inheritance of wing pigmentation and mimicry. This childhood interest led him to study human genetics as well. Even though he achieved worldwide acclaim for his work on the prevention of Rh hemolytic disease of the newborn, his work ranged through life insurance practice, consultant physician and professor of medicine. Considered by his peers to be slightly eccentric, he called himself a “dilettante” and felt that his work was “fun”. He retained a child-like curiosity throughout life and was very dedicated towards his profession.

// Famous Pioneering Work on Prevention of Rh Disease

Childhood & Early Life

He was born on August 22, 1907 into a medical family in Leicester, England. He was the son of Dr. Astley Clarke and the nephew of Percy Gee, two men who were among the founders of the University of Leicester.

He attended the Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester before moving to the independent Oundle School near Peterborough. He was bullied at Oundle and developed a severe dislike for the institution.

He developed an interest in butterflies and moths during his school days. He was sent to the Leicestershire village of Houghton-on-the-Hill during the World War I where his 16 year old governess introduced him to the hobby of collecting butterflies and moths.

He opted to study Natural Sciences at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge from where he graduated in 1929. Then he studied Medicine and Surgery at Guy’s Hospital, London, graduating in 1932.

Career

He served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve as a medical specialist during the World War II. He studied the severe malnutrition and the resulting neurological complications in the British prisoners of war liberated from the Japanese camps and wrote a paper on it.

After the war, Clarke was appointed as a registrar at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. In 1946 he became an honorary consultant physician at the David Lewis Northern Hospital, Liverpool.

He was appointed Director of the Nuffield Unit of Medical Genetics based at the University of Liverpool in 1963 and became Professor of Medicine a couple of years later. The teaching position suited him very well and he proved to be an enthusiastic and stimulating educator. The Department of Clinical Genetics thrived under his guidance.

He was elected Censor by the Royal College of Physicians in 1967 and became the Senior Censor four years later. In 1970 Clarke was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was elected the President of the college when the then President Lord Rosenheim stepped down from the post in 1972.

He brought about a lot of changes during his tenure as the president. He initiated a review of the College constitution and ensured that the hitherto quirky MRCP examination was revamped into a proper test of clinical skills.

He was part of the team that developed the technique of giving Rhesus negative women injections of anti-RhD antibodies during pregnancy to prevent Rh disease in their offspring. This was a major medical breakthrough in the field of preventive medicine.

His term as the President of the Royal College ended in 1977. Along with some of his colleagues he established a research unit where they studied longevity and genetics of race horses.

He served as the director of the Royal College’s medical services study group from 1977 to 1983. In 1983 he became the director of its research unit and served till 1988.

Major Works

He is best remembered for his research in Rhesus Haemolytic Disease (RHD), also known as the ‘yellow baby’. The potentially fatal condition that arose in some of the children of Rhesus negative mothers and Rhesus positive fathers was believed to be incurable. However, the brilliant doctor developed the use of an antibody, anti-D, which could prevent this dangerous condition in newborns.

Awards & Achievements

In 1980, he along with the likes of Dr. Ronald Finn, Dr. Vincent Freda and Dr. William Pollack was jointly awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research for their pioneering work on the Rhesus blood group system and the prevention of Rh disease.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Frieda “Feo” in 1935. Theirs was a happy marriage that produced three sons. His wife was very supportive of his research work and helped him in breeding butterflies.

He had a lifelong love for butterflies and moths. He collected and bred them, and was an expert at crossing different species; his favorite, however was the Swallowtail.

He was devastated by the death of his beloved wife in 1998 and never fully recovered from this tragedy. He lived a long life and died on November 21, 2000 at the age of 93.

// Famous Physicians

Cyril Clarke awards

YearNameAward

Other

1977 - Gairdner Foundation International Award
1980 - Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research
1981 - Linnean Medal
1990 - Buchanan Medal

Cyril Clarke biography timelines

  • // 22nd Aug 1907
    He was born on August 22, 1907 into a medical family in Leicester, England. He was the son of Dr. Astley Clarke and the nephew of Percy Gee, two men who were among the founders of the University of Leicester.
  • // 1929 To 1932
    He opted to study Natural Sciences at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge from where he graduated in 1929. Then he studied Medicine and Surgery at Guy’s Hospital, London, graduating in 1932.
  • // 1935
    He married Frieda “Feo” in 1935. Theirs was a happy marriage that produced three sons. His wife was very supportive of his research work and helped him in breeding butterflies.
  • // 1946
    After the war, Clarke was appointed as a registrar at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. In 1946 he became an honorary consultant physician at the David Lewis Northern Hospital, Liverpool.
  • // 1963
    He was appointed Director of the Nuffield Unit of Medical Genetics based at the University of Liverpool in 1963 and became Professor of Medicine a couple of years later. The teaching position suited him very well and he proved to be an enthusiastic and stimulating educator. The Department of Clinical Genetics thrived under his guidance.
  • // 1967 To 1972
    He was elected Censor by the Royal College of Physicians in 1967 and became the Senior Censor four years later. In 1970 Clarke was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was elected the President of the college when the then President Lord Rosenheim stepped down from the post in 1972.
  • // 1977
    His term as the President of the Royal College ended in 1977. Along with some of his colleagues he established a research unit where they studied longevity and genetics of race horses.
  • // 1977 To 1983
    He served as the director of the Royal College’s medical services study group from 1977 to 1983. In 1983 he became the director of its research unit and served till 1988.
  • // 1980
    In 1980, he along with the likes of Dr. Ronald Finn, Dr. Vincent Freda and Dr. William Pollack was jointly awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research for their pioneering work on the Rhesus blood group system and the prevention of Rh disease.
  • // 21st Nov 2000
    He was devastated by the death of his beloved wife in 1998 and never fully recovered from this tragedy. He lived a long life and died on November 21, 2000 at the age of 93.

// Famous Geneticists

Cyril Clarke's FAQ

  • What is Cyril Clarke birthday?

    Cyril Clarke was born at 1907-09-22

  • When was Cyril Clarke died?

    Cyril Clarke was died at 2000-11-21

  • Where was Cyril Clarke died?

    Cyril Clarke was died in England

  • Which age was Cyril Clarke died?

    Cyril Clarke was died at age 93

  • Where is Cyril Clarke's birth place?

    Cyril Clarke was born in England

  • What is Cyril Clarke nationalities?

    Cyril Clarke's nationalities is British

  • Who is Cyril Clarke spouses?

    Cyril Clarke's spouses is Frieda Clarke

  • What was Cyril Clarke universities?

    Cyril Clarke studied at Guy's Hospital, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

  • What is Cyril Clarke's sun sign?

    Cyril Clarke is Virgo

  • How famous is Cyril Clarke?

    Cyril Clarke is famouse as Pioneering work on prevention of Rh disease, and genetics of lepidoptera