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Receiving the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship to go to America


James Gowans
Avrion Mitchison Scientist
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We talked a lot while he was still a scientist in Oxford. Sadly, after he became Secretary of the MRC, it isn't that one- that I felt any cooler as a friend, but I did feel, like everybody does, just slightly awkward because he was in such a very powerful position. We connected again at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, when we talked about it and we both recognised it as a major challenge to medical research, and I asked him whether I should do anything for him. I said, I was at your disposal if you want me to. And he said, no, he was going to do it himself. And I thought that was probably the right decision for him to make, actually. And he ran the AIDS programme, not for a very long time, for one or two or three years. It may be that I was well out of it because it looked an easy challenge, you know, build a vaccine, like the salt vaccine, and that would be the end of the problem, but it didn't work out like that, did it.

Avrion Mitchison, the British zoologist, is currently Professor Emeritus at University College London and is best known for his work demonstrating the role of lymphocytes in tumour rejection and for the separate and cooperative roles of T- and B-lymphocytes in this and other processes.

Listeners: Martin Raff

Martin Raff is a Canadian-born neurologist and research biologist who has made important contributions to immunology and cell development. He has a special interest in apoptosis, the phenomenon of cell death.



Listen to Martin Raff at Web of Stories



Duration: 1 minute, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008