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R. F. Sellers

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ON June 25, Robert Firth Sellers, MA, ScD, PhD, BSc, CBiol FSB, FRSE, MRCVS, of 4 Pewley Way, Guildford, Surrey. Dr Sellers qualified from Edinburgh in 1953.

Alex Donaldson and Tony Garland write: Robert (Bob) Firth Sellers died on Saturday, June 25, after a short illness. He was a doyen of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), with a prodigious knowledge and memory of the disease and acute analytical skills. This, together with his generosity of spirit, meant his advice on matters relating to the disease was frequently sought by scientific colleagues, veterinary services and policymakers. His services were also in demand as a lecturer, reviewer of papers and PhD examiner. He remained active long after he retired from his position as Director of the Animal Virus Research Institute (AVRI; later the Pirbright Laboratory of the Institute for Animal Health) in 1984.

Bob first joined AVRI as a Scientific Officer in 1953, working in serology under the renowned John Brooksby, FRS. At that time, Dulbecco, in the USA, reported the plaque assay technique with viruses, and Bob went to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to learn the technique.

The visit lasted three months, including travel out and back by sea. Once he had learned the plaque technique, Bob made the most of his time by attending lectures and visiting institutes. In a report of the trip, he mentions hearing Linus Pauling, double Nobel Prize winner, lecture on malaria, and meeting Earle (of Earle's solution) at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. He visited Enders, another Nobel Prize winner, at his laboratory in Boston. On the way back to New York, he took the ferry to Plum Island, where the Animal Disease Center had just …

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