Lord Ernest Jackson Lawson Soulsby
(* 23.06.1926-† 08.05.2017)
former Professor of Animal Pathology and Dean of the Veterinary School of the University of Cambridge
With the passing of Lord Soulsby we lost one of the most prominent and deserving representatives within the fields of parasitology and veterinary science. All who knew him personally grieve for a charming person with a remarkable acuteness of thoughts and, last but not least, a good sense of humor.
After studying veterinary medicine at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, he acquired his PhD in 1952, was for a short time lecturer at Bristol University, and then worked for 10 years as scientist at the University of Cambridge. In 1964, he was appointed professor of parasitology and head of the chair of pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia USA. In 1978, he returned to Cambridge where he was professor of Animal Pathology and head of the Department of Clinical Veterinary Me-dicine until 1993. He was an active member of the British Parliament for more than 25 years and chaired the House of Lords in 1998. In his political functions he committed himself to many actual problems, including animal welfare, antimicrobial resistance and global health inequalities.
Lord Soulsby’s numerous activities and accomplishments have been described and acknowledged in detail elsewhere (Lloyd et al. 2017). Here, we would like to highlight some selected aspects. His reputation as a world-renowned scientist was based primarily on his pioneering fundamental studies on the immunology of helminthic parasitoses initiated in the 1960ties in Cambridge, including studies on functional parasite antigens, humoral und cell mediated immune responses, immunoevasion, immunopathology etc. He was a talented speaker, teacher and communicator. His textbooks - e.g. the "Textbook of Veterinary Clinical Parasitology" (published in 1965) – testified his broad and deep knowledge and set high standards for the quality of teaching parasitology. He used his abilities in many areas, for example in the World Health Organization as member of expert groups on parasitic zoonoses or as co-editor of guidelines for the control of echinococcosis. His special interest in zoonoses is reflected by his participation in editing the “Oxford textbook of Zoonoses”, published in 2011 in its 2nd edition (editors: S.R. Palmer, Lord Soulsby, P.R. Torgerson and David W. G. Brown).
As initiator, co-founder and first president (1963-1967) of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) he had a deep influence on the global development and progress of veterinary parasitology. He has made significant contributions to this association which could celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2013 and continues to play an active role.
As with many other countries, he was also connected on friendly terms with parasitologists in German-speaking countries. In Germany, he was awarded the Behring-Bilharz-Prize (1977), the Ludwig-Schunk-Prize of the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen (1979) and the Friedrich-Müssemeier-Medal of the Humboldt-University Berlin (1990). The German Society of Parasitology honoured him by appointing him as a Corresponding Member (1980). Of the many other awards that he has received, only two are mentioned here: He was created a life peer in 1990 becoming Baron Soulsby of Swaffham Prior and received the Oueen’s Medal for his outstanding lifetime contribution to bridging the worlds veterinary and medical science (Lloyd et al., 2017).
We miss him as a friend.
Horst Zahner, Giessen, Johannes Eckert, Zürich