Profile: A knightly pursuit
Sir David Weatherall became interested in research after his national service in Singapore. Upasana Tayal finds out where his career has taken him since then
“I haven't done any great research at all,” claims Professor Sir David Weatherall, emeritus regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford. Because of his research on the structure, function, and products of human globin genes, antenatal testing, and genetic counselling are now possible for genetic anaemias, such as thalassemia.
David founded the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford to research molecular and cell biology with direct application to the study of human disease. On David's retirement as director in 2000, the institute was renamed the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. However, his arrival at Oxford was a low key affair.
“I'd never even heard of it,” he says of his first appointment as Nuffield chair of medicine. Given only 24 hours to accept the post, he then heard nothing from the university. One year on, his secretary duly looked into the matter, only to be told: “It was