The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "SIR MICHAEL GEORGE PARKE STOKER. 4 July 1918 — 13 August 2013"

Posted on 2024-02-08 - 04:28
Michael Stoker was a renowned virologist and cell biologist. He gained his interest in research while serving as a medical officer during the Second World War in India, studying infectious diseases such as typhus. He began to study viruses in the Department of Pathology in Cambridge and in 1958 was appointed to the first established UK chair of virology and as head of the Medical Research Council Virus Unit at the University of Glasgow. He pioneered studies of cancer-causing viruses using polyomavirus of mice, and developed the baby hamster kidney cell lines still used today for vaccine production. In 1968 he moved to London as director of research at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) Laboratories, now part of the Cancer Research UK funded laboratories at the Francis Crick Institute. He brought many virologists to ICRF, while he himself turned to cell biology, first of mesenchymal cells and then of normal and malignant epithelial cells, particularly breast epithelium. Returning to Cambridge in 1978, he discovered scatter factor (also known as hepatocyte growth factor), a paracrine cytokine that stimulates motility and proliferation of epithelial cells. Michael had broad-ranging interests and there are few virologists in the UK who have not been influenced either by him directly or by his protégés. Among the many activities beyond the institutions where he worked, he served from 1976 to 1981 as Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society.


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