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Anthony (Tony) Clifford Allison
August 21, 1925 - February 20, 2014
Resident of Belmont
Tony passed away peacefully at home with his loving wife, Elsie, at his side. He is survived by his wife and professional partner Elsie Eugui, his two sons in the UK, Miles, a leading gastroenterologist, and Joseph Mark, a half sister, Coleen, and half brother Roy who live in South Africa, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins in Africa and UK.
Born in South Africa, Tony grew up in Kenya. He obtained his first university degree at Witwatersrand University South Africa, followed by his D.Phil in medicine at Merton College, Oxford. Most of 1953 was spent in East Africa doing the research for which he is best known, a demonstration that humans carrying the sickle cell trait are relatively resistant to Plasmodium falciparum malaria. His three papers on this subject, published in 1954, are now considered classical references representing the first recognized example of Darwinian selection in humans.
After East Africa, Tony completed postgraduate studies at Cal Tech in the laboratory of Prof. Linus Pauling, a Nobel prize-winning chemist.
Tony returned to England, where he taught medicine at Oxford for three years. During that period, Tony married orientalist Helen Green, and his sons were born. Tony and the boys' mother, Helen, later divorced.
Tony and Elsie met while she did research in Tony's lab in London. They soon found that they shared many interests and worked well together. Thus began a long and productive partnership.
In 1978, Tony accepted a position in Nairobi, Kenya as Director of the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD). Simultaneously he had an appointment at the World Health Organization's Immunology Laboratory (WHO) in Nairobi, where he studied immunity to malaria, and trypanosomes. Trypanosomes, transmitted by tsetse flies, limited production of cattle in many parts of Africa, and caused sleeping sickness in humans.
In 1981, Tony was recruited to be Vice President for Research at Syntex Corporation, Palo Alto, where he developed his concept of a novel immunosuppressive drug. In collaboration with Elsie and many other scientists, the successful development of CellCept has dramatically improved the long-term survival of patients with transplanted organs. It is also commonly used in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus. CellCept became one of Roche's blockbuster drugs.
Syntex was acquired by Hoffman LaRoche, from which Tony retired in 1994. He continued to consult, lectured in human genetics at Stanford University, and researched several new therapeutic programs at Alavita Pharmaceuticals. Tony was editor or co-editor, of 12 books and author or co-author of more than 400 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. For two decades. His were among the top 100 most frequently cited papers in the world of bio-medical sciences, and for five years in the top 10. He received many awards for his work on malaria and immunosuppressive therapies.
Tony and Elsie have lived in their aerie in Belmont overlooking San Francisco Bay for over 30 years. Tony was an avid reader with an extraordinary memory. He enjoyed classical music and was passionate about all aspects of nature, including deep-sea fishing, hiking, bird-watching, and wine tasting, all of which he shared with Elsie and imparted to his sons.
A true gentleman and scholar, Tony will be sorely missed and remembered by friends, collaborators, and family for his boundless intellectual energy, creativity, many contributions to science, work ethic, and his human qualities.
Celebration of his life will be held on April 13. Time and location posted on
or through Elsie: firstname.lastname@example.org . In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Mar. 2, 2014
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"Tony's passing brings us back to a visit of Elsie and Tony to Vancouver some twenty-odd years ago. It..."
- Peter and Patricia Wood
"Wow Elsie, what and amazing life you and Tony have led. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, I know how..."
- Beckie Underwood
"My heartfelt condolences on the loss of a good mentor, friend and a great scientist - Paul A. Raju,..."
- Paul Raju
" Elsie: my deepest sympathy. Tony had the office next to me at Northwick Park. A Great Guy. A great loss."
- Ron Barnes
"Dear Elsie, I will never forget what Tony did for my career.I wish I had met him earlier in his life he..."
- HANS SOLLINGER
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