Patrick Playfair Laidlaw FRS (1881-1940)

Patrick Laidlaw was born in Glasgow. He was educated at the Leys School in
Cambridge and made a strong impression on one part-time biology tutor, Henry
Dale. Laidlaw studied medicine before joining Dale’s team in 1909 at the Wellcome
Physiological Research Laboratories at Herne Hill, London. After a lectureship in
pathology at Guy’s Hospital, Laidlaw joined NIMR in 1922, to work with Captain
Douglas. In 1936, upon the death of Douglas, Laidlaw took over as head of his
Department – renamed Experimental Pathology – and became Deputy Director
of the Institute. His outstanding research included biochemistry as well as the
development of a vaccine against canine distemper and discovery of the influenza
virus. He was knighted in 1935, and left to become Rede Lecturer in Cambridge
in 1938. He died on 19 March 1940. He was remembered as a shy, modest and
helpful person, with a “wonderful appreciation of detail” and an “untiring patience
and thoroughness.”
Patrick Playfair Laidlaw
Patrick Playfair Laidlaw

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