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Professor Rodney Quayle
Professor Rodney Quayle

Internal News - 28 February 2006

Former Vice-Chancellor Professor Rodney Quayle dies

A message from Professor George Lunt, Deputy Vice-Chancellor

It is with great sadness that the University must record the death of Professor Rodney Quayle, FRS, on 26 February. Professor Quayle was the Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1983 until 1992.

Professor Quayle had an outstanding career working at the interface between microbiology and biochemistry and, in particular, he elucidated many of the mechanisms by which micro-organisms could use very simple molecules such as methane as their primary food source. He played a leading role in the development of the process by which such organisms could be grown on a methane source and produce large quantities of high grade protein, and this work underpinned much of the technology of the £100 million ICI 'Pruteen' plant that opened in Billingham in 1980.

His contributions to this important area of biochemistry were recognised in 1978 when he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and received the CIBA medal of the Biochemical Society.

Professor Quayle came to Bath in 1983 after having held the Chair of Microbiology and serving as Dean of the Faculty of Science in Sheffield for many years. He came with an enthusiasm for research and a determination to build up an excellent research base in Bath that would equal the University’s established commitment to teaching.

He led by example and transferred his research group from Sheffield. He established a new suite of laboratories in the part of the old 4West building then occupied by Biochemistry and for several years managed to combine the demanding role of Vice-Chancellor with running a very active laboratory based research group. The University’s research base was very considerably strengthened during Professor Quayle’s period of office and there is no doubt that he laid the foundations on which we have built the research-based and research-driven institution that we are today.

After his retirement from the University Rod Quayle continued to take a great interest in the development of the University and in his science. He was regular a attendee and active participant at meetings of Court. He served as President of the Society for General Microbiology and more recently was a member of the Board of the Bristol Exploratory.

Rod Quayle will be greatly missed by the biology community at large of which he such an active and enthusiastic member. Within the University the loss of a great friend and supporter of the institution will be particularly felt and there will be many members of the University both past and present who will wish to commemorate their association with him. In accordance with Professor Quayle’s wishes there will be a secular event held in the University to mark his passing and details of this will follow shortly.