David Evans (microbiologist)

Sir David Gwynne Evans FRS[1] (6 September 1909 – 13 June 1984) was a British microbiologist.

Early lifeEdit

He was born at 15 Kay Street, Atherton, Lancashire. His father was a headmaster and his mother a schoolteacher. They had four children and his elder brother, Meredith, was a professor at Leeds and Manchester Universities and also a Fellow of the Royal Society. His other brother, A. G. Evans became professor of chemistry at University College, Cardiff.

Evans left Leigh grammar school in 1928 and spent two years with the British Cotton Growers' Association. He then studied at the University of Manchester from 1930 to 1933, and graduated with a degree in physics and chemistry. He gained his Master of Science in 1934 and finished his Ph.D. in 1938.


In 1940 he began working at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in London.[2] In 1947 to become a reader in the bacteriology department at the University of Manchester, but returned to the NIMR in 1955 as director of the biological standards department. In 1961 he became professor of bacteriology and immunology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. In 1971–2 Evans was director of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine and struggled in vain to save its Chelsea laboratory from financial failure. He left in 1972 to become director of the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control to prepare for its 1976 move to South Mimms.

In 1976 he taught medical students at Oxford University in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology until retirement to North Wales in 1979.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1960 and awarded their Buchanan Medal in 1977 for his leading role in the standardization and safety control of vaccines.[3]

He was awarded CBE in 1969 and knighted in 1977.[3] He retired in 1979.[2]

He died at Llandrillo-yn-Rhos (Eng: Rhos-on-Sea), Denbighshire, North Wales.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1937 he married Mary (née Darby) and they had one son and one daughter.[4]


  1. ^ Downie, A. W.; Smith, C. E. G.; Tobin, J. O. . (1985). "David Gwynne Evans. 6 September 1909-13 June 1984". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 31: 172–196. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1985.0007. JSTOR 769924.
  2. ^ a b J. O'H. Tobin (2004). "Evans, Sir David Gwynne (1909–1984)". The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31086.
  3. ^ a b "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-03-12.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Sir David (Gwynne) Evans|Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014|Accessed 4 Oct 2014