Phyllis Clinch

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Dr Phyllis E. M. Clinch
Born 12 September 1901
Dublin, Ireland
Died 19 October 1984
Teneriffe, Canary Islands
Nationality Irish
Known for Plant viruses

Phyllis E. M. Clinch (12 September 1901 – 19 October 1984) was an Irish botanist most recognised for her work in the field of plant viruses.[1]

Dr Clinch attained her undergraduate from University College Dublin in 1923 with a first class honours in botany and chemistry, she was then awarded a scholarship and continued to study at University College Dublin obtaining a Masters in 1924.[1] Phillis went on to study a PhD in plant physiology at Imperial College London specializing in the biochemistry of Coniferales.[1] After graduating from her PhD in 1928 she became assistant to the professor of biology at University College, Galway.[1] In 1929 she became a Research Assistant for the investigation of Plant Virus Diseases, Department of Plant Pathology, University College, Dublin.[1] In 1949 she transferred to the Botany Department, the following year was appointed as a lecturer in Botany.[1]

Notable work[edit]

Dr Clinch is most recognised for her work on degenerative diseases in potato plants. She identified symptomless viruses and viruses that damaged potato stocks.[2][3][4] The department of agriculture used this knowledge to develop virus free stocks of potatoes.[1] She also carried out work on viruses affecting tomato and sugar beet crops.[5]


She was one of the first four women elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) in 1949.[1] She was awarded the Boyle Medal in 1961.[1] She was the first woman to have received this award.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Royal Dublin Society listing for Phyllis Clinch". Royal Irish Academy. 
  2. ^ Clinch, Phyllis (January 1932). "Cytological studies of potato plants affected with certain virus diseases". The Scientific proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society XX: 143–172. 
  3. ^ Clinch, Phyllis (August 1944). "Observations on a severe strain of potato virus X". The Scientific proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society. XXIII: 273–299. 
  4. ^ Clinch, Phyllis (December 1941). "A strain of the tuber blotch virus causing top necrosis in potato". The Scientific proceedings of the Royal Dublin Society XXII: 435–445. 
  5. ^ Clinch, Phyllis (March 1941). "Virus diseases of tomato". Department of Agriculture. XXXVIII: 24–47. 
  6. ^ "University College Dublin article on Pioneering Women Professors". UCD.