Sir Ronald Ross



Sir Ronald Ross, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., F.R.S., LL.D(Aberdeen), M.D, D.Sc, F.R.C.S, D.P.H., L.S.A. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1902.







Born in India in 1857, died 1932, he was the eldest of the 9 children of General Sir Campbell Claye Grant Ross of Shandwick. Ronald was trained at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College, London and the Royal College of Surgeons, and subsequently entered the Indian Medical Service in 1881 having acquired the Diploma in Public Health.

Whilst still working as a doctor, in 1882 he began his study of malaria, and in 1895 began his collaborating correspondence with fellow Scot, Sir Patrick Manson, who later founded the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (LSTMH). In August 1997 while in India, Ross made his famous discovery of the transmission of malaria parasites to man by anopheles mosquitoes.

Ross returned to Britain in 1899, where he later became Professor of Tropical Medicine in Liverpool, and thereafter Director-in-Chief of the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London from 1926 until his death. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1902, and was the first Briton to be so hooured in any discipline. He was knighted in 1911.

Ross's work on malaria firmly established the concept of vector-borne disease, where there is an alteration between insects and man during which the parasites' life cycle takes place in both hosts. Of greater ultimate importamce was his epidemiological work on malaria, including mathematical modelling that is still relevant today; to provide a basis for public health programmes to alleviate the poverty and misery such tropical diseases create. To further these aims, he visited places such as West Africa, Panama, Greece and Cyprus, Malaya, the Philippines, and the United States, usually as a consultant and adviser.

While Ross is largely remembered for his work with malaria and other tropical diseases, this remarkable man was also an editor, novelist, dramatist, poet, musician, composer and artist. An extensive archive of his life resides at the LSHTM today.

Sir Ronald is the grandfather of the present chief of Clan Ross.

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