David Ian Hewitt Simpson

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 27 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6188
  1. Andrew J H Simpson

David Ian Hewitt Simpson was born on 4 January 1935 in Bangor, Northern Ireland. His father Harold Simpson was an optician in Belfast. David attended Campbell College, from where he won an open entrance scholarship to Queen’s University of Belfast to study medicine. After qualifying in 1959, he developed a special interest in tropical virology, which he pursued throughout his professional career, gaining international recognition for his publications and expertise on arboviruses and viral haemorrhagic fevers.

His first post was in the microbiology department at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, as a colonial medical research student. The professor of microbiology, George Dick, encouraged him to work abroad, and he moved to the East African Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1962, as a medical research officer. Here he worked on a range of viruses, including the yellow fever and West Nile viruses, as well as the association of Burkitt’s lymphoma with herpes viruses. He also reported the first cases of human Congo virus infection occurring in Africa. He returned to …

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