Obituaries

Margaret Billingham

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1276 (Published 05 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1276
  1. Susan Stewart,
  2. Margaret Burke,
  3. John Billingham

    Margaret Billingham was born in Tanga in Tanzania, East Africa, in 1930. She was educated at Loreto School in Kenya, and did her medical training at the Royal Free Hospital in London. She graduated in 1954, and in 1956 married Dr John Billingham while they were both working at Hampstead General Hospital. They had two sons. In 1963 the family emigrated to Houston, Texas, and then moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1965. In the following year she began her medical training anew, with a two year postdoctoral fellowship in cardiopulmonary medicine at Stanford, but she then made a major decision—to enter the field of pathology. She became a resident in pathology at Stanford University Medical School in 1968, embarking on what was to become a career of astonishing achievements.

    She steadily rose through the ranks at Stanford, from chief resident in pathology (1970), assistant professor (1975), and associate professor (1981) to full professor in 1988. She became a diplomate of the American Board of Pathology in 1972. Early in her career she teamed up with Dr Philip Caves, a British cardiac surgeon working in Dr Norman Shumway’s cardiac transplantation research team. Together they developed the technique for assessing and monitoring acute rejection histologically by examining serial biopsy specimens obtained from transplanted hearts in vivo by percutaneous transvenous endomyocardial biopsy. Over a period of many years this became the standard method for assessing rejection and other cardiac diseases. …

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