Stanley James Holt

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 22 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2848
  1. Peter Lantos

    Stanley James Holt, professor emeritus of experimental biochemistry of the University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, London, died from cardiorespiratory insufficiency on 30 October 2008 at the age of 90 in the Royal Free Hospital, London.

    Holt, or Holtie to his colleagues and friends, was a cell biologist of international reputation. During his long professional life, he continued working long after his official retirement; he made substantial contributions to histochemistry and later to the developing science of cell biology. His first seminal paper, published in Nature in 1952, on the histochemical localisation of hydrolytic enzymes, he introduced new methods to achieve superior results. Using electron microscopy to visualise the finer details of cells, he was the first in 1961, with Professor Marian Hicks, to demonstrate these enzymes within lysosomes, the newly discovered cell organelles. This pioneering publication led to he realisation that cells have individual organelles, each performing a different aspect of metabolism with different sets of enzymes. He was an outstanding teacher who advocated academic research in medicine: many of his PhD students benefited from his expertise and wisdom, becoming professors …

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