Andrew Porter - 17 August 1955 to 30 August 2023
A talented academic, gifted mentor to his students and colleagues, and a devoted husband and father, Andy passed away on August 30th, 2023, after a short illness.
Educated at the University of Bristol (BSc in Biochemistry), and the University of Oxford (DPhil), he held positions at Stanford University, Oxford University, the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre and most recently in the Centre for Haematology here at Imperial College London, where he was a Reader in Haematology, Module Lead for Genetics and Genomics on the BSc in Medical Biosciences, Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research Studies, and actively involved in research activities.
Andy was the epitome of a bench scientist – he loved the questions and the laboratory experiments, and applied himself enthusiastically to the discovery of new molecular biology techniques. Andy joined the Centre for Haematology in 2004 with very considerable expertise in DNA recombination. In theory this was a marriage made in heaven as so much effort had been applied to the application of retroviral gene transfer to single gene disorders in haematology. Sadly, the enthusiasm of the 1980s and 1990s vanished with the realisation that functional recombination events were not only relatively rare but also could lead to serious adverse consequences. Despite these setbacks, Andy laboured on, convinced that the process could be made more accurate and more efficient, and he was absolutely right with gene therapy and gene editing now being used clinically in a wide variety of haematological disorders.
Andy was also a great teacher and mentor. His approach to science and generosity in sharing his ideas benefited dozens of students and postdocs that were fortunate to work with him, as well as numerous colleagues at the beginning of their careers as independent scientists. He happily took on the considerable task of developing course material on novel methodologies in the BSc in Medical Biosciences, in addition to fully participating in any of the numerous BSc, MSc and MRes courses that called for his expertise, and successfully supervising PhD students.
In addition to his research laboratory and teaching roles, Andy played an active role as a Liveryman of the Salters’ Company, sitting on its Court for the past 8 years. Most recently he joined the Salter’s Institute Board in June 2022 where he supported the development and delivery of the Institute’s science (predominantly Chemistry) educational programmes and acted as a mentor to young people interested in pursuing science.
Andy loved music and perhaps was never happier than when tinkering on the piano or playing the guitar with family and friends. He was a fine skier and intrepid sailor.
Andy was an exemplary colleague; kind, thoughtful and constructive in all his interactions with senior and junior colleagues, students and wider College staff. He was a voice of reason, committed to the scientific process and a friend to many. He will be much missed.
This In Memoriam is written by the Department of Immunology and Inflammation colleagues including Professor Jane Apperley, Professorand Professor Marina Botto.
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