Gustav Victor Rudolf Born FRCP, HonFRCS, FRS was a German-British Professor of Pharmacology at King's College London and Research Professor at the William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, being married to my Aunt in 1950 he was my Uncle-in-Law.
He was born in Germany, the son of the scientist Max Born and his wife Hedwig Ehrenberg, and the youngest of three siblings: his two sisters, Irene and Margaret (known as Gritli), having been born in Berlin in 1914 and 1915, respectively. His early education was at the Oberrealschule, Göttingen. He fled Germany with his family in 1933, as his father and maternal grandfather were Jewish. He then attended The Perse School, Cambridge and Edinburgh Academy. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh.
As a doctor serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1945, he was one of the first to witness the after-effects of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. He was struck by the incidence of severe bleeding disorders among the survivors which was due to a lack of platelets due to radiation damage. This drove much of his later research. He developed a simple device to measure the platelet aggregation rate which revolutionised the diagnosis of platelet related blood diseases and led to the development of antiplatelet medicines that have reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke for millions of people worldwide. He did not patent the device, saying that that scientific advances with medical implications should not be exploited for commercial gain.
Photo: The portrait was taken in 1986 and is copyright © Godfrey Argent Studio. (Link Unknown)
After the war he began postgraduate research at Oxford University with Howard Florey (who developed penicillin for pharmaceutical use), gaining his DPhil in 1951. He subsequently researched various other topics, including histamine and acid secretion in the stomach, neonatal physiology, smooth muscle and catecholamine pharmacology. But he was soon lured back by the fascination of platelet biology.
When stimulated by blood vessel damage or blood clotting, these tiny cells “aggregate” together, plugging the damaged vessel and thereby preventing any further escape of blood.
From 1973 to 1978 he was Sheild Professor of Pharmacology at Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1972, and of the Royal College of Physicians in 1976. He was Professor of Pharmacology at King's College London, 1978–86, and became Research Professor at the William Harvey Institute in 1989.
From the mid-1970s, Prof. Born also worked on atherosclerosis – a disorder of the artery wall. His research explained why hypertension was a risk factor in coronary heart disease and why atherosclerotic plaques ruptured so catastrophically.
Gustav Born married Ann Plowden-Wardlaw on July 29th 1950, my Aunt, and a medical doctor and Kleinian psychoanalyst, with Ann he had three children, my cousins Sebastian, Georgina and Max, In 1962, after a divorce with Ann, he married Dr Faith Maurice-Williams,also a doctor, with whom he had two more children, Matthew and Carey, Carey Born, an actress and filmmaker, known for her production company First BornFilms. His other daughter is Georgina Born, (my Cousin) is Professor of Sociology, Anthropology and Music at the University of Cambridge, and his niece is singer and actress Olivia Newton-John.
My thanks and recognition go to the following sites that have provided the above information.
The Royal Society Publishing: and Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
Further Links: The Guardian- Gstav Born Obituary.