Professor John Dupré (1944-1950)

Died on 30th December 2020, aged 89

John Dupré grew up in Northwood, and when he left MTS went to St. John’s, Oxford on a closed scholarship (the customary stairway to ‘heaven’ then) to read Physiology as a pre-clinical medical undergraduate.  He went on to clinical training at St.Thomas’, though had already shown his interest in laboratory research in work on metabolic physiology with Dennis Parsons in Oxford.  Throughout he played consistently as a scrum-half, whether for St. John’s, the OMTs, or St. Thomas’. 

After early clinical posts in London following qualification in 1958, he decided to pursue his medical career in Canada where he combined hospital clinical work with laboratory work, clinical trials and epidemiological studies.  He progressively concentrated on diabetes mellitus, and rose to be a Professor in that speciality at the Schulich School of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario in London (Ontario).  He was highly respected for his clinical care of patients and became internationally known for his research into Type I diabetes (T1DM, or so-called ‘juvenile-onset’).  He has been described as one of the “most important clinical scientists in the field of diabetes in the history of Canadian medicine”. 

Some epidemiological results had raised the possibility of a connection between breast-feeding and a liability to T1DM, but by careful work over more than a decade, he and his collaborators showed this not to be so.  His other great interest was as to why glucose was handled differently when taken by mouth as opposed to injected intravenously; it came to be realised that this was due to hormonal ‘glucagon-like’ factors released from the upper gut.  Therefore, he was involved in the early days of the work that led to the development of highly useful compounds widely used in the care of diabetic patients over the last decade, though, perhaps unexpectedly to him, much more in the patients with the far commoner Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) or even plain obesity.   

He sadly died at the end of last year at his home in Erin, Ontario, at the age of 90.  He leaves his wife of 61 years, Gillian and three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

Derek Hockaday (1942-1947)


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