With a group of my UCT Medical School colleagues, I have been attending reasonably regular informal talks by Professor Keith Dumbell, formerly of St Mary’s Hospital, London, the University of Liverpool, and UCT.
Keith is a poxvirus expert, and was involved in the eradication of smallpox. He has also lived through several eras of modern virology, starting in 1945 in the pre-DNA and electron microscope days, through the advent of tissue culturing viruses, to the application of recombinant DNA techniques to viruses – and has a treasure trove of fascinating stories he is sharing with us.
Mostly about viruses, but occasionally about the characters involved as well. And the fact that any virologist worth their salt in the 1950s had to have skills in cutting sections, culturing viruses in eggs, centrifugation techniques, and keeping a veritable zoo of small animals.
I hope to get his permission to release a DVD of his reminiscences some day.