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Grant Lathe

We have been notified that, very sadly, Emeritus Professor G H Lathe died on 2 July 2007. A Canadian by birth and a graduate of McGill University in both science and medicine, Professor Lathe came to Leeds in 1957 as Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology. His previous appointment had been as consultant biochemist at the Bernhard Baron Memorial Research Laboratory at Queen Charlotte's Maternity Hospital. Here, his research had led to the crucially important discovery of a biochemical explanation of a form of severe brain damage in premature infants. He was to maintain a life-long interest in the metabolism of bile pigments and haemolytic disease in the newborn. Together with his colleague, C R J Ruthven, Professor Lathe also developed the technique of separating substances on the basis of their molecular size by gel filtration - an analytical technique which went on to be used throughout the world, its contribution to biochemistry being inestimable. The two decades during which Professor Lathe headed Chemical Pathology at Leeds were characterised by the steady consolidation of the discipline and serial advances in analytical techniques. Professor Lathe himself retained an unswerving commitment to research; some of his work at Leeds was fundamental to advancing the understanding of the biochemistry of the liver cell. Firmly rejecting the conception of chemical pathology as simply the performance of tests on patients, he always sought explanations in biochemical terms for the underlying pathogenesis of disease. Professor Lathe's professional standing ensured he was the regular recipient of invitations to lecture at home and abroad, and to join a wide range of scientific committees. For three years (1967-70), he chaired the Council of the Association of Clinical Biochemists, of which he had been a founding member. Professor Lathe retired from his Chair in 1977 but remained active in research, maintaining a close association with the Department of Pharmacology for many years.