George Carmichael Low

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For the 15th century bishop-elect of Glasgow, see George Carmichael.

George Carmichael Low (14 October 1872 – 31 July 1952) was a Scottish parasitologist.

He was born in Monifieth, Forfarshire, Scotland, the son of Samuel Miller Low, a manufacturer of flax machinery and educated at the University of St Andrews. Having graduated MA from St Andrews he then studied for a medical degree at Edinburgh University, graduating MD in 1897. For the next two years he was a resident house doctor at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.[1]

In November, 1899 he moved to London to work at the new London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine under Patrick Manson. He was sent to Vienna to learn a new technique for sectioning mosquitos and on his return was able to use the technique to prove that mosquitos pass on parasites from person to person during the act of biting.

In 1900 he spent three months in a malaria-ridden part of Italy and by avoiding mosquitos demonstrated that they were responsible for the transmission of the disease. He spent 1901 in the West Indies, confirming Manson's discovery that filaria ( a small worm) transmitted by mosquitos was the cause of elephantiasis. In 1903 he was head of a team sent to Uganda to investigate the cause of "sleeping sickness" which unfortunately failed to identify the true cause (Trypanasoma sp.) of the outbreak. His companions were Cuthbert Christy and Aldo Castellani.

On his return in 1903 he was appointed superintendent of the Albert Dock Seamen's Hospital (ADH) where the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine was located. He remained there for the rest of his working life, being appointed Physician in 1918 and Senior Physician in 1919. During WWI he was made a Major in the Indian Medical Service, treating sick officers at the ADH.

In 1907 he formed, together with James Cantlie, the Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene which in 1920 was granted the Royal prefix to become the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He was the twelfth president of the society himself from 1929 to 1933 and oversaw their move into Manson House in Portland Place where they remained until 2003.

He was a keen ornithologist and served on the council of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He married Edith Nash in 1906: they had no children.


  1. ^ "Obituary-George Carmichael Low". Br Med J. BMJ. 2 (4779): 342–3. Aug 1952. PMC 2020944free to read. PMID 14935422.