Geoffrey B. West

Geoff West was born on 13th September 1916. His long and distinguished career started in 1938 in London with his degree in Pharmacy. After his Ph.D. he then moved to Edinburgh and then to Dundee where in 1952 he established with J.F.Riley that tissue mast cells were a main storage site of histamine. This discovery laid the foundation for an understanding of allergic and inflammatory disease. He was awarded the D.Sc. (University of London) in 1954 and won the Annual Biology prize of the New York Academy of Science in 1964. After working for the British Industrial Biological Research Association (BIBRA), in 1970 Geoff went to the Polytechnic of North East London, now the University of East London, where he established a flourishing research group. On retiring in 1982, Geoff became the Polytechnic’s first Honorary Research Fellow and continued to add to more than 350 research papers. Geoff West was our Secretary-General for more than 10 years. His attitude to the meetings epitomised his approach to life and to science. He was compassionate to the young investigator giving his or her first presentation and constructively critical of the more experienced. He was full of zest and enthusiasm and had the rare gift of being able to communicate this to others, both at the scientific sessions and as Master of Ceremonies at the Society’s Social Functions. Everyone was much saddened by his death on 5th December 1990.