John Midgley Obituary: Pioneer in Thyroid Hormone Detection and Patient Advocacy

John Midgley Obituary: Pioneer in Thyroid Hormone Detection and Patient Advocacy


John Midgley Obituary – The passing of John Midgley, a distinguished scientist and biochemist, marks the end of an era in medical research. Renowned for his groundbreaking work in the field of thyroid hormone detection, Midgley’s contributions have had a profound impact on patient care and the advancement of medical science. Born and raised in the picturesque village of Burley in West Yorkshire, Midgley’s academic journey began at Ilkley grammar school and culminated in a degree in biochemistry from Leeds University in 1958. His thirst for knowledge led him to pursue a doctorate in physical chemistry at Exeter College, Oxford, under the guidance of Sir Cyril Hinshelwood, a Nobel laureate whose mentorship deeply influenced Midgley’s career.


Throughout his illustrious career, Midgley held various academic and research positions, including a fellowship in molecular biology at the prestigious Carnegie Institute in Washington and lecturer roles at Leeds University and Newcastle University. However, it was his tenure as the international clinical trials coordinator for Amersham International (now GE Healthcare) that catapulted him to prominence. Alongside his colleague Terry Wilkins, Midgley spearheaded groundbreaking research in thyroid hormone detection, earning them the coveted Prince of Wales award for industrial innovation and production in 1985.


Midgley’s legacy extends beyond his scientific achievements; he was also a staunch advocate for patient rights and served as a medical adviser to the charity Thyroid UK. Even in retirement, Midgley remained active in scientific circles, contributing to numerous publications and collaborating with fellow researchers to deepen our understanding of thyroid physiology and endocrine regulation. His marriage to Joan Hirst, a fellow scientist, was a testament to his commitment to both his personal and professional life.

As we mourn the loss of a visionary scientist and compassionate advocate, we celebrate John Midgley’s enduring legacy and the profound impact he has left on the field of medical science. He leaves behind a loving family, including his children Catherine and Edward, and five grandchildren, who will undoubtedly carry on his spirit of curiosity and dedication to improving human health.


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