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Ian McGregor

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 17 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1062
  1. Caroline Richmond

    Leading British malariologist

    Ian McGregor made a huge contribution to malariology. Equally skilled at field epidemiology and laboratory immunology, he showed that African children who survive their first two years have a longlasting—though not permanent—immunity to malaria; that immunity can be transferred to non-immune people; that antimalarial drugs inhibit the formation of natural immunity; and that pregnant women have decreased immunity but confer immunity on newborns. He also found, contrary to belief, that malaria infection decreased a person's immunity to other parasitic and infectious diseases.

    He worked at the Medical Research Council (MRC) unit in the Gambia—it was originally a nutrition unit and later diversified into tropical diseases—and was its director for 22 years.

    McGregor was born into a Glasgow tailoring family with a high regard for education. From Rutherglen Academy he went to St Mungo's College and thence to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for his clinical studies. He changed from a sports-mad schoolboy to a high-flying student, carrying off class medals in anatomy, physiology, surgery, public health, and obstetrics and gynaecology. After a year of house jobs …

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