Allan Hamilton FRSE

Biography of Allan Hamilton FRSE

W Allan Hamilton
W Allan Hamilton

William Allan Hamilton was a distinguished microbiologist who spent much of his career at the University of Aberdeen.

The son of Vernon, an accountant with Glasgow Corporation Tramways, and Jean, who had worked at Pettigrews' store in Glasgow before her marriage, Allan grew up in the area and attended Hutchesons' Grammar School. His elder brother, Loudon, later became a distinguished civil servant.

Allan began his studies at the University of Glasgow in 1954, earning a BSc in Biochemistry before pursuing a PhD on A biochemical study of the diauxic growth of pseudomonas aeruginosa which he was awarded on the 8th July 1961.

Fellowships took him to Illinois, USA and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On his return to the UK he joined Unilever Research between 1963 and 1967 where he investigated food safety and hygiene products.

In 1967 he took the post of Lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen. He established the Department of Microbiology at Aberdeen, becoming the first Chair of Microbiology in 1978. The Department was consistently one of the most highly ranked research units in the UK, under his leadership. In recognition of his pioneering work into bacterial energy transduction, Allan was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1980.

His research transformed understanding of sulphate-reducing bacteria and their role in microbial corrosion in offshore oil installations. He and colleagues formed a company, Micran, to provide mitigating services to the oil industry. He orchestrated the rejuvenation of the National Collection of Industrial Bacteria, becoming its chairman between 1982 and 1997.


Allan Hamilton FRSE
Born 4 April 1936.
Died 5 December 2021.
University Link: GU Degrees: BSc, 1958; Science, PhD, 1961; Science,
Occupation categories: biologists; microbiologists; professors
Record last updated: 11th Feb 2022

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