Thomas Spence Work (1912-1997)
Tommy Work was a biochemist at NIMR from 1938 to 1977, becoming head of the Division of Biochemistry in 1956 to retirement in 1977. Born on 12 July 1912 in Kirkwall, Orkney, Tommy Work learnt about boat building from his sea captain father and attended the local grammar school. He read Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded a PhD in 1936. He did research at the Lister Institute on the isolation and identification of vitamin E. In 1938 Work was appointed to work with Harold King at NIMR on the chemotherapy of malaria. In 1950 he moved to the Division of Biochemistry where he led research on protein biosynthesis. He succeeded Albert Neuberger as head of the Division of Biochemistry in 1956, and became Deputy Director of the Institute in 1975, overseeing much of the refurbishment work before retiring in 1977. He recalled his greatest satisfaction being that of choosing the right people to do research and knowing that they then went on to do outstanding work – among his protégés were Brigitte Askonas and Henry RV Arnstein. Work died on the Isle of Wight in 1997.