Honor Fell

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Honor Fell

Dr Dame Honor Bridget Fell, DBE, Ph.D, D.Sc, FRS[1] (22 May 1900 – 22 April 1986) was a British scientist and zoologist. Her contributions to science included the development of the 'organ culture method, similar to stem cell research.[2][3][4]


She was educated at Wychwood School, North Oxford and Madras College before earning a Bachelor of Science in Zoology at the University of Edinburgh in 1922 and a Ph.D. in 1924. Most of her long career was spent at the Strangeways Research Laboratory, Cambridge, where she was Director from 1927 to 1970.[5] While working at Cambridge she earned her Ph.D in 1924. In 1932 she earned her Doctor of Science from the University of Cambridge.[citation needed]

Organ culture method[edit]

This enabled scientists to grow living differentiated cells, largely obtained from the embryos of warm blooded animals, to create cultures that mimic the behaviour of organs in the animal body (see stem cell research).

Her second contribution to science was the direction, with Dr F.G. Spears, of the Strangeways Research Laboratory[6] at Cambridge University. She was named Director at Strangeways Laboratory in 1927.

In the 1930s the Laboratory pioneered the development of radiobiology – the effects of X-rays on living animal tissue. This was a direct result of Dr. Fell's offer of study facilities to scientists who were refugees of the Second World War. Despite limited resources the laboratory expanded, particularly with the construction in 1938 of a new wing funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. By 1970 the Laboratory had 62 scientists and 29 technicians.[citation needed]

In retirement Dr Fell once again took up the immunobiology of rheumatoid disease. She returned to Strangeways in 1976 and remained there, still working in the laboratory, until within four weeks of her death in 1986.



  1. ^ a b Vaughan, Dame Janet (1987). "Honor Bridget Fell. 22 May 1900-22 April 1986". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 33: 236–226. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1987.0009. JSTOR 769952. PMID 11621435.  edit
  2. ^ Poole, A. R. (1989). "Honor Bridgett Fell, Ph.D., D.Sc. F.R.S., D.B.E., 1900-1986. The scientist and her contributions". In vitro cellular & developmental biology : journal of the Tissue Culture Association 25 (5): 450–453. PMID 2659579.  edit
  3. ^ Poole, A. R.; Caplan, A. I. (1987). "An appreciation. Dame Honor B. Fell, F.R.S. (1900-1986)". Developmental biology 122 (2): 296–299. doi:10.1016/0012-1606(87)90295-8. PMID 3297855.  edit
  4. ^ Lasnitzki, I. (1986). "Dame Honor Fell FRS (1900–1986)". Nature 322 (6076): 214. doi:10.1038/322214a0. PMID 3526159.  edit
  5. ^ Obituary in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (1987), vol. 46, p. 264
  6. ^ "Strangeways Research Laboratory". Srl.cam.ac.uk. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter F" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 

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