Ronald Ross

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Ronald Ross

Ronald Ross.jpg
Born(1857-05-13)13 May 1857
Died16 September 1932(1932-09-16) (aged 75)
London, UK
Resting place Putney Vale Cemetery
51°26′18″N0°14′23″W / 51.438408°N 0.239821°W / 51.438408; -0.239821
Alma mater St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College
Society of Apothecaries
Known forDiscovering that the malaria parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes
Rosa Bessie Bloxam(m. 1889)
Scientific career
Institutions Presidency General Hospital, Calcutta
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
King's College Hospital
British War Office
Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance
Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases
Author abbrev. (zoology) Ross

Sir Ronald Ross KCB KCMG FRS FRCS [1] [2] (13 May 1857 – 16 September 1932), was a British medical doctor who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on the transmission of malaria, becoming the first British Nobel laureate, and the first born outside Europe. His discovery of the malarial parasite in the gastrointestinal tract of a mosquito in 1897 proved that malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes, and laid the foundation for the method of combating the disease. He was a polymath, writing a number of poems, published several novels, and composed songs. He was also an amateur artist and natural mathematician. He worked in the Indian Medical Service for 25 years. It was during his service that he made the groundbreaking medical discovery. After resigning from his service in India, he joined the faculty of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and continued as Professor and Chairman of Tropical Medicine of the institute for 10 years. In 1926 he became Director-in-Chief of the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases, which was established in honour of his works. He remained there until his death. [3] [4]

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Malaria Mosquito-borne infectious disease

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later. In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms. This partial resistance disappears over months to years if the person has no continuing exposure to malaria.

History of malaria

The history of malaria stretches from its prehistoric origin as a zoonotic disease in the primates of Africa through to the 21st century. A widespread and potentially lethal human infectious disease, at its peak malaria infested every continent, except Antarctica. Its prevention and treatment have been targeted in science and medicine for hundreds of years. Since the discovery of the parasites which cause it, research attention has focused on their biology, as well as that of the mosquitoes which transmit the parasites.


Early life and education

Ronald Ross was born in Almora, India, North West of Nepal, [1] the eldest of ten children of Sir Campbell Claye Grant Ross, General in the British Indian Army, and Matilda Charlotte Elderton. At age eight he was sent to England to live with his aunt and uncle on the Isle of Wight. He attended Primary schools at Ryde, and for secondary education he was sent to a boarding school at Springhill, near Southampton, in 1869. From his early childhood he developed passion for poetry, music, literature and mathematics. At fourteen years of age he won a prize for mathematics, a book titled Orbs of Heaven which sparked his interest in mathematics. In 1873, at sixteen, he secured first position in the Oxford and Cambridge local examination in drawing. [5] Although he wanted to become a writer, his father arranged enrollment at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College in London, in 1874. Not fully committed, he spent most of his time composing music, and writing poems and plays. He left in 1880. In 1879 he had passed the examinations for the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and he worked as a ship's surgeon on a transatlantic steamship while studying for the licenciate of the Society of Apothecaries. [6] He qualified on second attempt in 1881, and after a four-month training at Army Medical School, he entered Indian Medical Service in 1881. [4] Between June 1888 and May 1889 he took study leave to obtain the Diploma in Public Health from the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Surgeons, and took a course in bacteriology under Professor E. E. Klein. [3]

Almora Hill station in Uttarakhand, India

Almora is a municipal board and a cantonment town in the Almora district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is the administrative headquarters of Almora district. Almora is located on a ridge at the southern edge of the Kumaon Hills of the Himalaya range, at a distance of 363 km from the national capital New Delhi and 415 km via Saharanpur Rd, 351 km via NH109 and 388.6 km via Ambala- Dehradun- Haridwar Rd from the state capital Dehradun. According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census of India, Almora has a population of 35,513. Nestled within higher peaks of the Himalaya, Almora enjoys a year-round mild temperate climate.

General Sir Campbell Claye Grant Ross was an officer in the British Indian Army.

British Indian Army 1858–1947 land warfare branch of British Indias military, distinct from the British Army in India

The Indian Army (IA), often known since 1947 as the British Indian Army to distinguish it from the current Indian Army, was the principal military of the British Indian Empire before its decommissioning in 1947. It was responsible for the defence of both the British Indian Empire and the princely states, which could also have their own armies. The Indian Army was an important part of the British Empire's forces, both in India and abroad, particularly during the First World War and the Second World War.



Ross embarked for India on 22 September 1881 on the troopship Jumma. Between 1881 and 1894 he was variously posted in Madras, Burma, Baluchistan, Andaman Islands, Bangalore and Secunderabad. In 1883, he was posted as the Acting Garrison Surgeon at Bangalore during which he noticed the possibility of controlling mosquitoes by limiting their access to water. In March 1894 he had his home leave and went to London with his family. On 10 April 1894 he met Sir Patrick Manson for the first time. Manson who became Ross's mentor, introduced him to the real problems in malaria research. Manson always had a firm belief that India was the best place for the study. Ross returned to India on P&O Ferries' Ballaarat on 20 March 1895 and landed in Secunderabad on 24 April. [7] Even before his luggage was cleared in the custom office, he went straight for Bombay Civil Hospital, looking for malarial patients and started making blood films.

Andaman Islands archipelago in the Bay of Bengal

The Andaman Islands form an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal between India, to the west, and Myanmar, to the north and east. Most are part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory of India, while a small number in the north of the archipelago, including the Coco Islands, belong to Myanmar.

Bangalore Capital of Karnataka, India

Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, is the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka. It has a population of over ten million, making it a megacity and the third most populous city and fifth most populous urban agglomeration in India. It is located in southern India on the Deccan Plateau at an elevation of over 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level, which is the highest among India's major cities. It reflects its multireligious and cosmopolitan character by its more than 1000 temples, 400 mosques, 100 churches, 40 Jain derasars, three Sikh gurdwaras, two Buddhist viharas and one Parsi fire temple located in an area of 741 km² of the metropolis. The religious places are further represented to include the few members of the Jewish community who are making their presence known through the Chabad that they propose to establish in Bengaluru and the fairly large number of Bahá'ís whose presence is registered with a society called the Bahá'í Centre.

Secunderabad Twin City of Hyderabad in Telangana, India

Secunderabad is the twin city of Hyderabad located in the Indian state of Telangana. Named after Sikandar Jah, the third Nizam of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, Secunderabad was established in 1806 as a British cantonment. Although both the cities are together referred to as the twin cities, Hyderabad and Secunderabad have different histories and cultures, with Secunderabad having developed directly under British rule until 1948, and Hyderabad as the capital of the Nizams' princely state of Hyderabad.

Discovery of malaria vector

The page in Ross' notebook where he recorded the "pigmented bodies" in mosquitoes that he later identified as malaria parasites Ross, 20.Aug.1897.jpg
The page in Ross' notebook where he recorded the "pigmented bodies" in mosquitoes that he later identified as malaria parasites

Ross made his first important step in May 1895 when he observed the early stages of malarial parasite inside a mosquito stomach. However, his enthusiasm was interrupted as he was deployed to Bangalore to investigate an outbreak of cholera. Bangalore had no regular cases of malaria. He confided to Manson stating, "I am thrown out of employment and have 'no work to do'." But in April he had a chance to visit Sigur Ghat near the hill station of Ooty, where he noticed a mosquito on the wall in a peculiar posture, and for this he called it "dappled-winged" mosquito, not knowing the species. In May 1896, he was given a short leave that enabled him to visit a malaria-endemic region around Ooty. In spite of his daily quinine prophylaxis, he was down with severe malaria three days after his arrival. In June he was transferred to Secunderabad. After two years of research failure, in July 1897, he managed to culture 20 adult "brown" mosquitoes from collected larvae. He successfully infected the mosquitoes from a patient named Husein Khan for a price of 8 annas (one anna per blood-fed mosquito!). After blood-feeding, he dissected the mosquito and found an "almost perfectly circular" cell from the gut, which was certainly not of the mosquito. (This discovery was published in 18 December 1897 issue of British Medical Journal.) [8] [9] On 20 August he confirmed the presence of the malarial parasite inside the gut of mosquito, which he originally identified as "dappled-wings" (which turned out to be species of the genus Anopheles). The next day, on 21 August, he confirmed the growth of the parasite in the mosquito. In the evening he composed the following poem for his discovery (originally unfinished, sent to his wife on 22 August, and completed a few days later): [10] [11]

Cholera Bacterial infection of the small intestine

Cholera is an infection of the small intestine by some strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that lasts a few days. Vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Diarrhea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. This may result in sunken eyes, cold skin, decreased skin elasticity, and wrinkling of the hands and feet. Dehydration can cause the skin to turn bluish. Symptoms start two hours to five days after exposure.

Ooty Hill station in Tamil Nadu, India

Udagamandalam, and abbreviated as Udhagai or Ooty, (listen  is a town and a municipality in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. It is located 86 km north of Coimbatore and 128 km south of Mysore and is the capital of the Nilgiris district. It is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills.

Indian anna currency unit formerly used in India

An anna was a currency unit formerly used in India and Pakistan, equal to ​116 of a rupee. It was subdivided into four paisa or twelve pies. The anna is very light-weighted. The term belonged to the Islamic monetary system. The anna was demonetised as a currency unit when India decimalised its currency in 1957, followed by Pakistan in 1961. It was replaced by the 5-paise coin, which was itself discontinued in 1994 and demonetised in 2011. Despite this, a 50-paise coin is still sometimes colloquially referred to as 8 annas today, with a 25-paise coin nicknamed 4 annas.

This day relenting God
Hath placed within my hand
A wondrous thing; and God
Be praised. At His command,
Seeking His secret deeds
With tears and toiling breath,
I find thy cunning seeds,
O million-murdering Death.
I know this little thing
A myriad men will save.
O Death, where is thy sting?
Thy victory, O Grave?

Discovery of malaria transmission

Ross, Mrs Ross, Mahomed Bux, and two other assistants at Cunningham's laboratory of Presidency Hospital in Calcutta Sir R. Ross on steps of laboratory in Calcutta, 1898 Wellcome L0011943.jpg
Ross, Mrs Ross, Mahomed Bux, and two other assistants at Cunningham's laboratory of Presidency Hospital in Calcutta

In September 1897, Ross was transferred to Bombay, from where he was subsequently sent to a malaria-free Kherwara in Rajputana (now Rajasthan). Frustrated of lack of work he threatened to resign from service as he felt that it was a death blow to his pursuit. It was only on the representation of Patrick Manson, that the government arranged for his continued service in Calcutta on a "special duty". [3] On 17 February 1898 he arrived in Calcutta (now Kolkata), to work in the Presidency General Hospital. [12] He immediately carried out research in malaria and kala azar, for which he was assigned. He was given the use of Surgeon-Lieutenant-General Cunningham's laboratory for his research. He had no success with malarial patients because they were always immediately given medication. He built a bungalow with a laboratory at Mahanad village, where he would stay from time to time to collect mosquitoes in and around the village. He employed Mahomed (or Muhammed) Bux, Purboona (who deserted him after the first payday), and Kishori Mohan Bandyopadhyay as laboratory assistants. As Calcutta was not a malarious place, Manson persuaded him to use birds, as being used by other scientists such as Vasily Danilewsky in Russia and William George MacCallum in America. Ross complied but with a complaint that he "did not need to be in India to study bird malaria". By March he began to see results on bird parasites, very closely related to the human malarial parasites. [13] Using more convenient model of birds, by July 1898 he established the importance of mosquitoes as intermediate hosts in avian malaria. On 4 July he discovered that the salivary gland was the storage sites of malarial parasites in the mosquito. By 8 July he was convinced that the parasites are released from the salivary gland during biting. He later demonstrated the transmission of malarial parasite from mosquitoes (in this case Culex species) to healthy birds from an infected one, thus, establishing the complete life cycle of malarial parasite. [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19]


Rājputāna, meaning "Land of the Rajputs", was a region in India that included mainly the present-day Indian state of Rajasthan, as well as parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, and some adjoining areas of Sindh in modern-day southern Pakistan.

Rajasthan State in India

Rajasthan is a state in northern India. The state covers an area of 342,239 square kilometres (132,139 sq mi) or 10.4 percent of the total geographical area of India. It is the largest Indian state by area and the seventh largest by population. Rajasthan is located on the northwestern side of India, where it comprises most of the wide and inhospitable Thar Desert and shares a border with the Pakistani provinces of Punjab to the northwest and Sindh to the west, along the Sutlej-Indus river valley. Elsewhere it is bordered by five other Indian states: Punjab to the north; Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the northeast; Madhya Pradesh to the southeast; and Gujarat to the southwest.

Kolkata Capital city of West Bengal, India

Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River approximately 75 kilometres (47 mi) west of the border with Bangladesh, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. The city is widely regarded as the "cultural capital" of India, and is also nicknamed the "City of Joy". According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the seventh most populous city; the city had a population of 4.5 million, while the suburb population brought the total to 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. Recent estimates of Kolkata Metropolitan Area's economy have ranged from $60 to $150 billion making it third most-productive metropolitan area in India, after Mumbai and Delhi.

In September 1898 he went to southern Assam in (northeast India) to study an epidemic of kala azar. He was invited to work there by Dr Graham Col Ville Ramsay, the second Medical Officer of the Labac Tea Estate Hospital. (His microscope and medicals tools are still preserved, and his sketches of mosquitoes are still on display at the hospital.) [20] [21] However, he utterly failed as he believed that the kala azar parasite ( Leishmania donovani , the very scientific name he later gave in 1903) was transmitted by a mosquito, which he refers to as Anopheles rossi. (It is now known that kala azar is transmitted by sandflies.)

Assam State in northeast India

Assam is a state in India, situated south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Assam covers an area of 78,438 km2 (30,285 sq mi). The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to the north; Nagaland and Manipur to the east; Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Bangladesh to the south; and West Bengal to the west via the Siliguri Corridor, a 22 kilometres (14 mi) strip of land that connects the state to the rest of India.

Northeast India Group of Northeastern Indian states

Northeast India is the easternmost region of India representing both a geographic and political administrative division of the country. It comprises eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. The Siliguri Corridor in West Bengal, with a width of 21 to 40 kilometres, connects the North Eastern Region with East India. The region shares an international border of 5,182 kilometres (3,220 mi) with several neighbouring countries – 1,395 kilometres (867 mi) with Tibet Autonomous Region, China in the north, 1,640 kilometres (1,020 mi) with Myanmar in the east, 1,596 kilometres (992 mi) with Bangladesh in the south-west, 97 kilometres (60 mi) with Nepal in the west, and 455 kilometres (283 mi) with Bhutan in the north-west. It comprises an area of 262,230 square kilometres (101,250 sq mi), almost 8 percent of that of India, and is one of the largest salients (panhandles) in the world.

<i>Leishmania donovani</i> species of Kinetoplastea

Leishmania donovani is a species of intracellular parasites belonging to the genus Leishmania, a group of haemoflagellate kinetoplastids that cause the disease leishmaniasis. It is a human blood parasite responsible for visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar, the most severe form of leishmaniasis. It infects the mononuclear phagocyte system including spleen, liver and bone marrow. Infection is transmitted by species of sandfly belonging to the genus Phlebotomus in Old World and Lutzomyia in New World. Therefore, the parasite is prevalent throughout tropical and temperate regions including Africa, China, India, Nepal, southern Europe, Russia and South America. It is responsible for thousands of deaths every year and has spread to 88 countries, with 350 million people at constant risk of infection and 0.5 million new cases in a year.


Blue plaque, 18 Cavendish Square, London Ronald Ross 18 Cavendish Square blue plaque.jpg
Blue plaque, 18 Cavendish Square, London

In 1899, Ross resigned from Indian Medical Service and went to England to join the faculty of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as lecturer. He continued to work on prevention of malaria in different parts of the world, including West Africa, the Suez Canal zone, [22] Greece, Mauritius, Cyprus, and in the areas affected by the First World War. He also initiated organisations, which proved to be well established, for fighting malaria in India and Sri Lanka. He was appointed as Professor and Chair of Tropical Medicine of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 1902, which he held up to 1912. In 1912 he was appointed Physician for Tropical Diseases at King's College Hospital in London, and simultaneously hold the Chair of Tropical Sanitation in Liverpool. He remained in these posts until 1917 when he became (honorary) Consultant in Malariology in British War Office. He travelled to Thessaloniki and Italy in November to advise and on the way, "in a landlocked bay close to the Leucadian Rock (where Sappho is supposed to have drowned hers)", his ship escaped a torpedo attack. [23] Between 1918 and 1926 he worked as Consultant in Malaria in the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance.

Ross developed mathematical models for the study of malaria epidemiology, which he initiated in his report on Mauritius in 1908. He elaborated the concept in his book The Prevention of malaria in 1910 [24] (2nd edition in 1911) and further elaborated in a more generalised form in scientific papers published by the Royal Society in 1915 and 1916. These papers represented a profound mathematical interest which was not confined to epidemiology, but led him to make material contributions to both pure and applied mathematics.

Ross was one of the supporters of Sir William Osler in the founding of the History of Medicine Society in 1912, and in 1913 was the history of medicine section's vice-president. [25]

Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases

The Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases was founded in 1926 and established at Bath House, a grand house with keeper's lodge and large grounds adjacent to Tibbet's Corner at Putney Heath. The hospital was opened by the then Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII. [26] Ross assumed the post of Director-in-Chief until his death. [6] The institute was later incorporated into the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in Keppel Street. Bath House was later demolished and mansion flats built on the property. In memory of its history and owner the block was named Ross Court. Within the grounds an older dwelling, Ross Cottage, remains.

Nobel Prize

Ronald Ross Ronald Ross 4.jpg
Ronald Ross

Ronald Ross was awarded a Nobel Prize for his discovery of the life cycle of malarial parasite. He did not build his concept of malarial transmission in humans, but in birds. [2] In 1897, an Italian physician and zoologist Giovanni Battista Grassi, along with his colleagues, had established the developmental stages of malaria parasites in anopheline mosquitoes; and they described the complete life cycles of P. falciparum , P. vivax and P. malariae the following year. [27] [28] When the 1902 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was considered, the Nobel Committee initially intended the prize to be shared between Ross and Grassi, however Ross accused Grassi of deliberate fraud. The weight of favour ultimately fell on Ross, largely due to the influences of Robert Koch, the appointed neutral arbitrator in the committee; as reported, "Koch threw the full weight of his considerable authority in insisting that Grassi did not deserve the honor". [29] Ross was the first to show that malarial parasite was transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes, in his case the avian Plasmodium relictum .

Personal life and death

Ronald Ross was noted to be eccentric and egocentric, described as an "impulsive man". His professional life appeared to be in constant feud with his students, colleagues and fellow scientists. [30] His personal vendetta with G.B. Grassi became a legendary tale in science. He was openly envious of his mentor Patrick Manson's affluence from private practices. This was largely due to his own ineptitude to compete with other physicians. His Memories of Sir Patrick Manson (1930) was a direct attempt to belittle Manson's influences on his works on malaria. [7] He hardly had good ties with the administration of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, complaining of being underpaid. He resigned twice, and was eventually discharged without any pension. [31]

Ross's grave at Putney Vale Cemetery, London in 2014 Ronald Ross grave Putney Vale 2014.jpg
Ross's grave at Putney Vale Cemetery, London in 2014

Ross was frequently embittered by lack of government support (what he called "administrative barbarism") [4] for scientists in medical research. In 1928 he advertised his papers for sale in Science Progress , with a statement that the money was for financial support of his wife and family. Lady Houston bought them for £2000, and offered them to the British Museum, which turned her down for various reasons. The papers are now preserved by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine [3] [32] and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. [33]

In 1889 Ross married Rosa Bessie Bloxam (d.1931). They had two daughters, Dorothy (1891–1947) and Sylvia (1893–1925), and two sons, Ronald Campbell (1895–1914) and Charles Claye (1901–1966). His wife died in 1931. Ronald and Sylvia pre-deceased him too: Ronald was killed at the Battle of Le Cateau on 26 August 1914. [34] Ross died at the hospital of his namesake after a long illness and asthma attack. He was buried at the nearby Putney Vale Cemetery, next to his wife. [35] [36] [37]


Ronald Ross Memorial, Calcutta

Ronald Ross Memorial, SSKM Hospital, Kolkata Ronald Ross Memorial.jpg
Ronald Ross Memorial, SSKM Hospital, Kolkata

A small memorial on the walls of SSKM Hospital commemorates Ross' discovery. The memorial was unveiled by Ross himself, in the presence of Lord Lytton, on 7 January 1927. [38]

Sir Ronald Ross' name on LSHTM Sir Ronald Ross .jpg
Sir Ronald Ross' name on LSHTM

Sir Ronald Ross is one of 23 names to feature on the frieze of London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, pioneers chosen for their contributions to public health [39] .


Literary works

Ross was a prolific writer. He habitually wrote poems on most of the important events in his life. His poetic works gained him wide acclaim and they reflect his medical service, travelogue, philosophical and scientific thoughts. Many of his poems are collected in his Selected Poems (1928) and In Exile (1931). Some of his notable books are The Child of Ocean (1899 and 1932), The Revels of Orsera, The Spirit of Storm, Fables and Satires (1930), Lyra Modulatu (1931), and five mathematical works (1929–1931). He also compiled an extensive account The Prevention of Malaria in 1910 and another Studies on Malaria in 1928. He published his autobiography Memoirs, with a Full Account of the Great Malaria Problem and its Solution (547 pages long) in 1923. He carefully saved virtually everything about himself: correspondence, telegrams, newspaper cuttings, drafts of published and unpublished material, and all manner of ephemera. [4]

Awards and recognition

Plaque at Liverpool University - on the Johnston Building, formerly the Johnston Laboratories, near Ashton Street, Liverpool Ronald Ross plaque, Johnston Building, Liverpool.jpg
Plaque at Liverpool University – on the Johnston Building, formerly the Johnston Laboratories, near Ashton Street, Liverpool
Ross's name remembered on the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Ross's name remembered on the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.JPG
Ross's name remembered on the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Ronald Ross was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 "for his work on malaria, by which he has shown how it enters the organism and thereby has laid the foundation for successful research on this disease and methods of combating it". [40]

20 August is celebrated by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine as World Mosquito Day to commemorate Ross' discovery in 1897. [41] Additionally, Ross' name, along with 22 other pioneers of public health and tropical medicine, appears on the School's Frieze. [42] The papers of Sir Ronald Ross are now preserved by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine [3] [32] and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. [33]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1901 and of the Royal College of Surgeons in the same year. He was appointed Vice-President of the Royal Society from 1911 to 1913.[ citation needed ] In 1902 he was appointed a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath by King Edward VII. In 1911 he was promoted to the rank of Knight Commander of the same Order. He was also decorated with the title Officer of the Order of Leopold II of Belgium.

Ross received honorary membership of learned societies of most countries in Europe, and elsewhere. He got an honorary M.D. degree in Stockholm in 1910 at the centenary celebration of the Caroline Institute and his 1923 autobiography Memoirs was awarded that year's James Tait Black Memorial Prize. While his vivacity and single-minded search for truth caused friction with some people, he enjoyed a vast circle of friends in Europe, Asia and the United States who respected him for his personality as well as for his genius.

In India, Ross is remembered with great respect as a result of his work on malaria, the deadly epidemic which used to claim thousands of lives every year. There are roads named after him in many Indian towns and cities. In Calcutta the road linking Presidency General Hospital with Kidderpore Road has been renamed after him as Sir Ronald Ross Sarani. Earlier this road was known as Hospital Road. In his memory, the regional infectious disease hospital at Hyderabad was named Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Tropical and Communicable Diseases. The building where he worked and actually discovered the malarial parasite, located in Secunderabad near the Begumpet Airport, is a declared a heritage site and the road leading up to the building is named Sir Ronald Ross Road.

In Ludhiana, Christian Medical College has named its hostel as "Ross Hostel". The young medics often refer to themselves as "Rossians".

The University of Surrey, UK, has named a road after him in its Manor Park Residences. [43]

Ronald Ross primary school near Wimbledon Common is named after him. The school's coat of arms includes a mosquito in one quarter. [44]

Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Parasitology was established in memory of Ronald Ross in Hyderabad, under Osmania University. [45]

In 2010 the University of Liverpool has named its new biological science building "The Ronald Ross Building" in his honour. His grandson David Ross inaugurated it. The building is home to the university's facility for the Institute of Infection and Global Health. [46]

See also

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Angelo Celli was an Italian physician, hygienist, parasitologist and philanthropist known for his pioneering works in malarial parasite and control of malaria. He was Professor of Hygiene at the University of Palermo, and then at the Sapienza University of Rome. He founded Pasteur Institute of Italy. With wife Anna Fraentzel he established a number of medical schools in Roman Campagna and dispensaries in Rome. He and Ettore Marchiafava correctly described the protozoan parasite that caused malaria and gave the scientific name Plasmodium in 1885. Understanding the nature of malaria, he was among the first scientists to advocate and practically worked for eradication of insects to prevent infectious diseases. He was elected to Senate of the Kingdom of Italy in 1892.

Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Parasitology is a malaria research institute located in Begumpet, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, India. Established in 1955, the institute is a division of Osmania University. The institute is named after Sir Ronald Ross, winner of Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, 1902.

George Carmichael Low was a Scottish parasitologist.

<i>Anopheles claviger</i> species of insect

Anopheles claviger is a mosquito species found in Palearctic ecozone covering Europe, North Africa, northern Arabian Peninsula, and northern Asia. It is responsible for transmitting malaria in some of these regions. The mosquito is made up of a species complex consisting of An. claviger sensu stricto and An. petragnani Del Vecchio. An. petragnani is found only in western Mediterranean region, and is reported to bite only animals, hence, it is not involved in human malaria.

Mosquito-malaria theory

Mosquito-malaria theory was a scientific theory developed in the latter half of the 19th century that solved the question of how malaria was transmitted. The theory basically proposed that malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes, in opposition to the centuries-old medical dogma that malaria was due to bad air, or miasma. The first scientific idea was postulated in 1851 by Charles E. Johnson, who argued that miasma had no direct relationship with malaria. Although Johnson's hypothesis was forgotten, the arrival and validation of the germ theory of diseases in the late 19th century began to shed new lights. When Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran discovered that malaria was caused by a protozoan parasite in 1880, the miasma theory began to subside.

William George MacCallum Canadian physician and pathologist

William George MacCallum was a Canadian-American physician and pathologist. He was of Scottish descent and was born in Dunnville village in Canada, where his father was a physician. He was educated at the University of Toronto. He graduated with BA in 1894. Initially inclined towards Greeks as academic career, his father influenced him to enter medicine. He joined the second year of the first batch of medicine course in the Johns Hopkins Medical School, and became one of the first graduates of the institute in 1897. He was appointed assistant resident of pathology of the medical school in 1897, resident pathologist in 1901, soon after Associate Professor, and full Professor in 1908. Between 1909 and 1917 he held a twin position of Professor of Pathology at Columbia University and the NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital. From 1917 to 1943 he held the Chair of Pathogy at Johns Hopkins University.

Philip Manson-Bahr English zoologist and medical doctor

Sir Philip HenryManson-Bahr, MA Cantab, MB BChir, MD, MRCP, FRCP was an English zoologist and physician known for his contributions to tropical medicine. He changed his birth name to Manson-Bahr after marrying Edith Margaret Manson, daughter of the doyen of tropical medicine Sir Patrick Manson. Following his father-in-law, he devoted much of his career to tropical medicine. He was a Consulting Physician, and held high offices at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and at the London Hospital. He was knighted in 1941.

Henry Edward Shortt Anglo-Indian protozoologist

Henry Edward Shortt was an Anglo-Indian protozoologist.

Charles Wilberforce Daniels

Charles Wilberforce Daniels FRCP (1862–1927) was a British physician and pioneer of tropical medicine, known for his confirmation of Ronald Ross's 1898 discovery of the role of mosquito-vectored malarial parasites in avian malaria.

John William Watson Stephens Stephens, John William Watson (1865–1946), parasitologist and expert on tropical diseases

John William Watson Stephens FRS (1865–1946) was a British parasitologist and expert on tropical diseases.

Louis Westenra Sambon

Louis Westenra Sambon was an Italian-English physician who played important roles in understanding the causes (etiology) of diseases. He described many pathogenic protozoans, insects, and helminths including the name Schistosoma mansoni for a blood fluke. He was an authority on the classification of parasitic tongue worms called Pentastomida (Linguatulida), and one the genus Sambonia is named after him.


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Further reading