Designatory Letters: 
AO (Cantab), DSc London, MD London, FRCPath UK, FRS Edinburgh, FRACP DUIv(Adel)

Barrie Marmion was the son of Joseph and Melita (Millie) Marmion whose father became the County Pharmacist for Kent. He began his medical studies at University College London (UCH) in 1939 with a brief interlude seconded to the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff for his preclinical studies returning to UCH for his clinical studies. The latter were conditioned by the reduced senior staff away with the forces. Having to undertake some air raid duties, he managed to obtain pre-registration experience at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He graduated in 1944.

He joined the Public Health Laboratory Service under G S Wilson FRS which provided an exceptional pathology training programme. As part of this he was seconded to Cambridge and then at the Virus Reference Laboratory. While working with G S Wilson he was asked one day to go to the Brompton Hospital to obtain some samples from a patient with a PUO. As he was talking to the man a recently discharged ex service doctor passed commenting ‘That man has Q fever’! It transpired that the man came from Maidstone, Barrie’s home town, and had a herd of goats. His time with G S Wilson also brought him important experience at Colindale. He had a brief appointment in Leicester, as he was offered a Rockefeller Scholarship which took him to work at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne with Macfarlane Burnet. The work was primarily with Murray valley encephalitis and respiratory viruses.

On his return to UK he joined Michael Stoker’s group in 1952 at Cambridge studying Q Fever, this was a major investigation. In 1955 he was appointed to the new PHLS virus laboratory in Leeds. While there he published with Hayflick and Channock a paper on Eaton’s atypical pneumonia which showed that the cause was a mycoplasma. He published the first description of Q fever endocarditis. He was asked to go to Bradford to help with the diagnosis of a patient who died from an unidentified fever. It transpired that the man was a mortuary attendant and had contracted Small Pox when embalming the body of a child who had just arrived in England. The child’s body had been returned in haste to Pakistan for burial. The child had died from the Small Pox. Small Pox virus was recovered from the mortuary attendant.

In 1963 he was appointed the Foundation Professor of Microbiology at the new Monash University Medical School. This was taxing as a course had to be formulated, lectures prepared and research students motivated. His work at that time was with mycoplasma antigens and Hepatitis A.

In 1968 he was appointed to the Robert Irvine Chair of Bacteriology in Edinburgh. Shortly after his arrival he was involved in a major outbreak of Hepatitis in the Renal Dialysis unit in which there was a high mortality. The study revealed important aspects on the pathogenesis of Hepatitis B this was in conjunction with Chris Burrell and Eric Gowans. A further aspect of this work in conjunction with Ken Murray and Patricia Mackay revealed the cloning and antigen expression of the Hepatitis B virus. The work led to the establishment of principles in the control of blood borne viruses, including HIV / AIDS.

There was a post script to the Hepatitis B outbreak, stored sera provided evidence for an element of Hepatitis C infection. Another investigation in Edinburgh with John Mackay and Mary Norval tested hypothesis that Rheumatoid Arthritis was of infective origin. Edinburgh in his time was a major centre for research in the cellular, antibody and mitochondrial responses to infection.

In 1979 he was invited to be Senior Director of the Division of Medical Virology at the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science IMVS in Adelaide, this had good links with the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Along with Chris Burrell and Eric Gowans he built the Institute into a leading research group in the country. The major feature of his time in Adelaide at the IMVS was the advance made in Q Fever. He trialled a vaccine for Q fever which has since been established as standard practice for the protection of abattoir workers, and others in that industry.

He observed that there was a post Q fever syndrome the features of which corresponded with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS. This has subsequently been replicated in Japan, Canada, America and Holland. A small investigation of a group of CFS sufferers with no known exposure to Q fever were tested for Q Fever residue and in excess of 45% tested positive. Another area of concern lay in the unreported epidemics of Q Fever for example Birmingham (UK), South Wales, Scotland, and Holland. In the latter epidemic more than a thousand cases occurred. These epidemics were discussed at a symposium at Cambridge in 2010. He was a life member of Clare Hall.

One task which he found stimulating, from the wide variety of submissions, was the Chair of the Medical Research Council for Australia. He wryly remarked that such an appointment was a sure way to lose his friends. His awards included officer of the Order of Australia and Foundation Distinguished Fellow Award (Gold Medal) of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia. He was an Honorary Life Member of the American Society of Rickettsiology and has a Rickettsia named after him R.honei var marmionii.

He was a man of warmth with a capacity for the recognition of the worth of others and the support their development required. He had a detailed knowledge of the wines of the Barrosa valley, he enjoyed music particularly that of Sibelius. He was a devoted family man and leaves a wife who he married more than sixty years ago and a daughter and two granddaughters.