It was with great sadness that we received the news of Professor Denis Mitchison’s passing at the age of 98 this week. Professor Mitchison’s TB research and clinical activities, which date to the study of streptomycin in 1947, continue to have a considerable impact on the lives of people with tuberculosis the world over.
Streptomycin, the first highly active antibiotic for TB, ushered in a new era of hope for people afflicted by the devastating infectious disease. During his tenure at the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council, Denny also helped develop TB drug regimens still in use today. His clinical research spanned the continents, with participating centers in the UK, East Africa, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Czechoslovakia. He also established specialist TB laboratories in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia and a central laboratory in Hong Kong.
We were extremely fortunate in having had Denny as one of the founding members of the TB Alliance’s Scientific Advisory Committee, serving from 2001 through 2008. Not only was his advice and guidance invaluable in shaping the scientific direction and decision-making of the Alliance, but his insightful and piercing comments and questions also ensured that no meeting of the Advisory Committee was ever dull or boring.
A prolific writer, the author of hundreds of scientific publications, Denny was appropriately recognized for his major contributions to the field through numerous prestigious awards from the British Thoracic Society, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and the Stop TB Partnership, among others.
On behalf of TB Alliance, we offer our sincere condolences to Denny’s family, friends and colleagues. It has been a privilege to have known Denny and had the opportunity to learn from him and collaborate with him. Perhaps most importantly, and certainly of great pride to Denny, was the knowledge that his work contributed to the saving of millions of lives from the disease he fought so valiantly to conquer.
President and CEO