Professor John Howard William Tyrer CBE, FRCP Edin

Born: 

01/06/1920

Died: 

06/06/2006

Designatory Letters: 

MB Sydney 1942, MD Sydney 1953, FRACP 1957, MRCP Edin 1967, Fellowship 1970

(Contributed by Mervyn Eadie)

On 6 June 2006 Emeritus Professor John Tyrer died in Brisbane at the age of 86 years. He had graduated in Medicine from the University of Sydney in 1941, and after working in a Royal Australian Air Force research unit during the 2nd World War years, undertook further training in pathology and medicine in the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and received a Doctorate in Medicine for research into the cardiovascular physiology of the sheep. He was appointed Assistant Physician to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and spent 1953 and 1954 at the London Hospital with the then Sir Russell Brain whilst Travelling Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. In late 1954 he took up an appointment in Brisbane as the first full-time Professor of Medicine in the University of Queensland, the previous occupants of the chair having been part-time appointees. He occupied the Chair in Medicine for the next 31 years, and shortly after his retirement was awarded a CBE. During his years in the chair of Medicine he built up his University department from a single academic position to one containing 5 chairs and numerous sub-professorial positions scattered across 4 major teaching hospitals in Brisbane. He was Senior Physician and Senior Neurologist to Royal Brisbane Hospital, and became a major driving force in the development of medical research in the State of Queensland. During his career he was the author of a History of the Brisbane Hospital and was co-author of another 10 books and of over 100 papers in the scientific literature. His main research interests were in the measurement of the speech defect in aphasia, in oxidative enzyme histochemistry of the brain, and in aspects of clinical neuropharmacology. In earlier years he had close contacts with French neurology and aphasiology. In retirement he taught pathology to medical students on a part-time basis for several years, and did some work with children who had language difficulties.