Professor John Grange was born in East Dereham, Norfolk in April 1943. John attended Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk, before training as a physician at The University of London’s Middlesex Hospital Medical School between 1962 and 1967.
After qualifying, John travelled in Zaire before joining the Middlesex Hospital Research Department, where he studied the genus Mycobacterium and the diseases it causes in humans and other animals. His doctoral thesis, on the classification of certain rapidly growing mycobacteria, led to further research on the development of bacteriophage typing of mycobacteria for epidemiology.
John was appointed Reader in Microbiology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, where his interests turned to the immunology and epidemiology of tuberculosis. From there he became assistant lecturer (1969-1970) at the Bland Sutton Institute of Pathology at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London and then lecturer in the same school’s Department of Microbiology from 1971 to 1976.
From 1976 to 2000, John was Reader in Clinical Microbiology at the Imperial College London School of Medicine and honorary consultant Microbiologist to the Royal Brompton NHS Trust. During this time, he undertook a series of visits to Indonesia to research the immunology and epidemiology of tuberculosis.
From 1985 to 1995, John was an honorary research fellow at King’s College Hospital Medical School, and he became a Visiting Professor at the University College London Centre for Infectious Disease and International Health after retiring from Imperial College London.
John edited Tubercle, the predecessor of the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, during the 1990s after assisting Ken Golman in the task for some years.
In later years, John’s interests turned further to the causes of the world TB pandemic – poverty, inequality and injustice. In 1999, he took up the position of Honorary Vice President at TB Alert. He also provided Consultation on Health for the World Council of Churches and the International Society for Human Values.
As a person, John was a great encourager of younger physicians and researchers, particularly those with an interest in tuberculosis. He had a great intellect, with the rare knowledge and ability to span academic fields – notably microbiology and immunology. This wide-ranging expertise led him to become a founding member of Immodulon, a company that researches cures for cancer. This was perhaps prescient, as John later developed pancreatic cancer, which caused his death on 11th October 2016. He will be greatly missed by myself and all at TB Alert.
John is survived by his wife Helga.
Peter Davies, TB Alert Secretary