Georgina Ferry interviews Siamon Gordon. Siamon Gordon FRS is Professor Emeritus of Cellular Pathology in the Dunn School.
He was born the son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants in an Afrikaans-speaking village in South Africa. Having excelled at school he qualified in medicine at the University of Cape Town before taking post-doctoral research posts in London (at St Mary’s Hospital) and Rockefeller University. While in New York he heard a lecture by Henry Harris on his then new technique of cell fusion. He transferred to Cornell University Medical School and did a PhD, first working with cell fusion and later focusing specifically on macrophages. He admits to being ‘slightly obsessed’ with macrophages, which he has worked on ever since. After further post-doctoral work, Gordon successfully applied for a Readership in Cellular Pathology at the Dunn School, arriving in 1976. He remained there for the rest of his career, continuing his work with macrophages. He has encouraged many international young scientists to work in his lab, especially from South Africa. He initiated an AIDS awareness campaign in South Africa, distributing an illustrated book entitled Staying Alive: Fighting HIV/AIDS (later You, Me and HIV). Since retirement he has worked on the history of