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Barbara Clayton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Barbara Evelyn Clayton

Born(1922-09-02)2 September 1922
Died11 January 2011(2011-01-11) (aged 88)
EducationUniversity of Edinburgh
Medical career
Professionpathologist, researcher, academic
Sub-specialtiesendocrinology, metabolic disorders
Notable workstest to diagnose phenylketonuria
AwardsGold medal of the British Medical Association

Dame Barbara Evelyn Clayton DBE FRCP FRCPath FMedSci (2 September 1922 – 11 January 2011) was an English pathologist who made a significant contribution to clinical medicine, medical research and public service. She was latterly Professor of Clinical Pathology at Great Ormond Street Hospitall, London.[1]


Clayton was born in Liverpool on 2 September 1922 to Constance Evelyn (née Caine) and William Clayton, a food scientist who is credited with inventing salad cream. She was educated at St Nicholas Preparatory School in Orpington[1] and Bromley County School for Girls, where she was head girl. She went on to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh, qualifying in 1946. Her interest in research took her to the Medical Research Council clinical endocrinology unit in Edinburgh. In 1949 she received a PhD for her research into oestrogens in 1949.[1][2]

Later that year she moved to London to become the Holden research fellow at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, a position she held until 1956 when she became a chemical pathology lecturer at the School. Her research on hormones and the development of new biochemical techniques brought her recognition.[1]

In 1959, she moved to Great Ormond Street Hospital to become a consultant pathologist. There she researched genetic metabolic disorders suffered by newborn babies. She developed a new, less invasive test to diagnose phenylketonuria - the test and the special diet that Claydon also designed continue to be in common use today.[1]

Over her career, Clayton published more than 200 academic papers. Concerned with the high levels of lead found in children's blood she co-authored, with five others, the article ‘Lead poisoning in children’ (Arch dis child 1964, 39, 1-13) and while a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in the 1980s, campaigned and lobbied the UK government to enforce a ban on lead in petrol, paint and other products.[3]

In 1978 she became the University of Southampton's first female professor when she took up the position of Professor of Chemical Pathology and Human Metabolism. She was Dean of Medicine at the University from 1983 to 1986, and honorary consultant chemical pathologist at the Southampton General Hospital. In 1987 she was appointed Honorary Research Professor in Metabolism and researched the nutritional needs of the elderly, particularly those in care homes.[4][5]

She served on the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution from 1981 to 1996 and chaired the enquiry into the Camelford water pollution incident in 1988.

Personal life

She met chemist William Klyne in 1947 while they were both employed at the Medical Research Council in Edinburgh. They married in 1949, and remained married until William Klyne's death in 1977. Together they had two children.[5]


Significant positions held


  1. ^ a b c d e "Munks Roll Details for Barbara Evelyn (Dame) Clayton". Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  2. ^ Barbara E. Clayton (1 January 1949). Studies in the metabolism of oestrogens. Thesis PhD--University of Edinburgh.
  3. ^ "Barbara Clayton: chemical pathologist". Minerva Scientifica. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Dame Barbara Clayton, CBE, DBE, FRCP Edin | Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b Barbara Evelyn Clayton, at the Lancet, Volume 377, Issue 9775, p. 1402, 23 April 2011(doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60564-3); by Caroline Richmond; retrieved 29 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b Malcolm, Alan (1 June 2011). "Professor Dame Barbara Clayton Honorary Fellow". Nutrition Bulletin. 36 (2): 283. doi:10.1111/j.1467-3010.2011.01903.x. ISSN 1467-3010.
  7. ^ Profile in Who's Who,; accessed 26 March 2014.

External links

Educational offices
Preceded by
Robert Curran
President of the Royal College of Pathologists
1987 – 1990
Succeeded by
Sir Dillwyn Williams
This page was last edited on 4 September 2020, at 05:49
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