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Dr Roy P Hullin

Collegues will be sorry to hear of the death, on 6 May 2012, of Dr Roy Hullin, former Reader in the Department of Biochemistry.

Born and educated in Swansea, Roy Hullin obtained a first in Chemistry from the University of Swansea in 1944.  He spent the next few years as a research chemist, before joining the Department of Biochemistry at Leeds in 1947 on an M.R.C. Grant.  Subsequently, he was appointed as an I.C.I. Fellow in Biochemistry (1949); Lecturer in Biochemistry (1951); Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry (1964) and Reader in Biochemistry (1970).  He also held a Wellcome Fellowship between 1972 and 1977 and was appointed to two honorary directorships at High Royds Hospital, where he conducted much of his research: Honorary Director of the Regional Metabolic Research Unit in 1962 and Honorary Deputy Director of the Pathology Laboratories at High Royds in 1976.  He retired from the University in 1989, although he was reappointed as an Associate Lecturer in Chemical Pathology until 1991.

Throughout his long career with the University, Roy’s research interests focused upon the chemical pathology of mental disorders, in particular the nutritional aspects of Alzheimer’s disease; the metabolism of tricyclic antidepressant drugs; the biochemistry of manic depressive psychosis and the field in which he became an early and respected authority, the use of lithium in treating manic depression.  He travelled widely to present his work at academic seminars and conferences (and in 1956 took a year’s sabbatical to take up an invitation to teach at the University of Pennsylvania) and conducted a number of influential longitudinal studies.  The nature of his field demanded a high level of interdisciplinary working, and he was a hardworking collaborator, generous with both his time and energy.

In addition to his research contributions, Roy also lectured in psychology for general practitioners and, principally, biochemistry for medicine.  He was an excellent teacher, never less than thoroughly prepared.  He was also an active member of a wide range of academic bodies (including the Royal Institute of Chemistry; the Biochemical Society; the Royal College of Psychiatrists – as a corresponding associate – the Brain Research Association; the British Association of Psychopharmacology; and the Association of Clinical Biochemists) and made the time to act as Admissions Tutor and as Safety and Radiation Adviser for many years and to serve upon a wide range of internal committees at both University level (including the University Court) and within the Medical School.  Outside the University, he was dedicated to public service, serving both on the Regional Health Authority (of which he was the Chair during 1982-3) and as a Justice of the Peace, becoming Chair of the Juvenile Court Panel and, in 1986, Chair of the Leeds Magistrates’ Bench.

Roy Hullin was a consummate scientist, curious, methodical and empirical, who, undaunted by the traditionally slow pace of advancement within his field of study, sought persistently and patiently over the course of four decades to expand the boundaries of knowledge.  He led by example, setting a high standard for both students and researchers, and always emphasised the long-term perspective rather than succumbing to any temptation to chase apparent short-term gain.  He will be remembered with great respect and affection for his quiet assurance, his reliability, and his famously dry sense of humour.

Dr Hullin is survived by his wife, Freda, and sons, David and Michael.

The funeral service has been held when the flag on the Parkinson Building was flown at half-mast.