Neglected tropical diseases

In memoriam, Professor Robert Killick-Kendrick

22 October 2011 | Geneva

Professor Robert Killick-Kendrick

We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of Professor Robert Killick-Kendrick .

Professor Killick-Kendrick was one of the world's foremost experts on leishmaniasis. For over half a century, he studied many diseases transmitted by insect vectors and made invaluable contributions to the field of entomology. He also made ground-breaking discoveries about the transmission of leishmaniasis by the sandfly vector.

Professor Killick-Kendrick started his professional career in Nigeria working mainly with patients suffering from human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and other zoonotic diseases transmitted by tsetse flies.

In 1972 he moved to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he taught parasitology and did extensive research in rodent malaria. Later he went to Imperial College, Ascot, UK where he began his outstanding studies on leishmaniasis and sand fly vectors with the immeasurable help of his spouse, Mireille. In the years that followed, he traveled widely and did field studies in Africa, Asia, South America and around the Mediterranean, working in over 20 different countries.

As a member of the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Leishmaniasis , Professor Killick-Kendrick contributed greatly to the landmark Technical Report Series on the Control of Leishmaniasis published in 1990. He also published over 300 scientific papers on leishmaniasis and other parasitic diseases, and was co-editor of The Leishmaniases in Biology and Medicine.

In recognition of his unparalleled scientific contribution, he was awarded Honorary Membership of the Italian Society of Parasitology and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He was also honorary fellow of The Royal Entomological Society, recipient of the Sir Rickard Christophers Medal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, won the Emile Brumpt International Prize and was appointed Academician of the French Académie des Hauts Cantons.

Professor Killick-Kendrick spent his last years as a Honorary Research Fellow in the Division of Biology at Imperial College, London, UK and lived in very active so-called retirement in the South of France.

Prof. Killick-Kendrick was well known in the field of leishmaniasis and will be sorely missed for his unique expertise and his warm and generous personality.

He made his last contribution to WHO during the Expert Committee meeting on leishmaniasis held in Geneva, Switzerland in March 2010 where he, as ever, graciously shared his knowledge with great wisdom, humor and with the same energy and enthusiasm he had 20 years ago.

We will always keep Bob's memory as a refreshing breeze.

Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases