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Professor Sir John Peebles Arbuthnott, B.SC. (GLAS.), M.A., PH.D. (GLAS.), SC.D., M.R.I.A., has passed away at the age of 83.

Professor Arbuthnott was appointed in 1976 to the Chair of Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin, and served as Professor of Microbiology until 1988. The newly named Chair replaced the Chair of Bacteriology and Preventive Medicine established in 1919 and held by Professor Stanley Stewart. He served as Bursar to the College from 1983 to 1986 and was elected to Honorary Fellowship in 1992.

A microbiologist by training and highly respected as an authority in his field, he was pivotal to the development of Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin. Under Prof. Arbuthnott's stewardship, the department expanded and the number of graduates increased. Professor Arbuthnott had the vision to encourage the application of the emerging field of recombinant DNA technology to the study of bacterial pathogens and during this time several important papers were published, establishing the Department's international reputation. Professor Arbuthnott left Trinity College in 1988, first to a chair in the University of Nottingham, and then to become Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Strathclyde University in Scotland from 1991–2000. Sir John was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1993 and went on to become President of the society from 2011–2014. As a prominent and influential figure in the wider higher education sector, he received a knighthood in 1998 for services to education.

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Professor Sir John Peebles Arbuthnott (Photo taken by Professor Peter Owen in 2003 at the Scientific Symposium that took place in the Department of Microbiology at Trinity College to celebrate the 50 th anniversary of the opening of the Moyne Institute)