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Moredun is deeply saddened to hear of the death Dr Hugh Reid

Moredun colleagues past and present were very sad to hear the news of the death of Dr Hugh Reid who was world renowned for his research into viruses and developing solutions to combat livestock diseases.

When asked in an interview for the Moredun 2020 project about why he chose to study virology Hugh Reid said,

“I find viruses absolutely fascinating. They are organisms that you cannot see and they can cause extraordinary diseases in animals and are very challenging and demanding to work on.”

Hugh was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and Glasgow Academy and he went on to study veterinary medicine at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. He graduated in 1966 and came to work at Moredun in 1968 and spent the rest of his career there, involving some seconded work to Africa and Asia.  Hugh’s research interests focused on viral diseases with Louping Ill, Malignant Catarrhal Fever and Orf being his main interests and he became Head of the Virology Department in 1990.

Hugh was a great lateral thinker and he liked to solve problems so when there was an issue with production of the commercial Louping Ill vaccine, Hugh immediately stepped in and converted his laboratory to enable large scale production of the virus to ensure that the vaccine, which he knew was vital to hill sheep farmers, could still be produced and distributed. His interest in malignant catarrhal fever began in Africa and his experience helped him recognize the significance of this disease in farmed deer and his work in this area has been crucial in the development of deer farming. He was a founder and past president of the Veterinary Deer Society and he edited the Society’s publication for many years and contributed twelve chapters to the seminal text book “Management and Diseases of Deer: a handbook for the veterinary surgeon” published by the Society. His outstanding expertise in veterinary virology has ensured his advice was widely sought. He was a scientific advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (RERAD) and the Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). His collaboration with overseas government scientists through the Department for International Development has resulted in the improvement of veterinary virology in Kenya, Indonesia and India.

Hugh retired in 2002 and became a Fellow of the Moredun Foundation where he led a highly successful research team looking at Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies. He was awarded an MBE in 2002 in recognition for his services to animal health.

Hugh was a very generous colleague who made a remarkable contribution to veterinary research. He also took time to encourage the next generation of researchers and inspire them to take up the challenge of understanding and outsmarting the many viruses, old and new that pose such a challenge to animal and human health. He will be greatly missed.

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