Rupert Everett Billingham. 15 October 1921 – 16 November 2002

Leslie Baruch Brent

Elected F.R.S. 1961


Rupert Billingham, known as Bill by his family, friends and professional colleagues, was a biologist whose outstanding experimental flair was sharply focused on the fields of transplantation immunology and the mysteriously intimate relationship between the mammalian mother and her foetus. Having entered these fields of study at a time when they were poorly understood, he made numerous fundamental contributions to our modern knowledge of the mechanisms of graft rejection and how to prevent it, and he analysed some of the mechanisms responsible for the survival of the mammalian foetus in an immunologically hostile environment. He was without doubt one of the true pioneers.