Sir James Gowans, CBE, FRCP, FRS
Distinguished medical researcher and supporter of the British Humanist Association
Born 1924, James Gowans has had a long and notable career in pathology and immunology. During the 1950s he did pioneering work on the life cycle of the lymphocyte, establishing that the small lymphocyte continuously recirculated from the blood to the lymph and back again, and that this cell was at the centre of immunological responses.
His career included spells as Henry Dale Research Professor of the Royal Society,School of Pathology, University of Oxford (1962 – 77), as Director of the Medical Research Council’s Cellular Immunology Research Unit (1963 – 1977), as Secretary of the Medical Research Council (1977 – 87), and as Secretary General of the Human Frontier Science Programme Strasbourg (1989 – 93).
He has received many awards and honour for his work, including a knighthood, and continues to use his medical knowledge as a Scientific Adviser to the SMA Trust, a registered charity working to fund medical research into Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
In July 2009 he joined other eminent scientists to call for vital changes to the proposed science curriculum for primary schools in England in a letter to Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.