Howard Dalton

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Howard Dalton
Born (1944-02-08)8 February 1944[1]
New Malden
Died 12 January 2008(2008-01-12) (aged 63)[1]
Alma mater
Awards Knight Bachelor
Scientific career
Institutions University of Warwick
Thesis Physiological Aspects of Growth of Azotobacter chroococcum in Continuous Culture (1968)
Doctoral advisor John Postgate

Sir Howard Dalton, FRS[1] (8 February 1944 – 12 January 2008) was a British microbiologist. He served as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) from March 2002 to September 2007.


Born in New Malden, Dalton was educated at Raynes Park County Grammar School and Queen Elizabeth College, University of London (now part of King's College London). He graduated in 1965, and went on to study at the University of Sussex with John Postgate, obtaining his PhD in 1968.[2]

He was an atheist.[3]

Career and research[edit]

He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University and the University of Sussex before joining the University of Warwick in 1973 as a lecturer in Biological Sciences. He was promoted to Professor in 1983. Dalton's main fields of interest concerned the physiology, genetics and biochemistry of organisms exhibiting methanotrophy. One of his main research interests was the particulate methane monooxygenase enzyme. His model organisms included Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) and Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b.[citation needed]

He served as Chair of Biological Sciences at Warwick from 1999 to 2002 before being appointed to DEFRA. He returned full-time to the University in October 2007,[1] and continued working there until his death.[4]

Awards and honours[edit]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1993,[1] was President of the Society for General Microbiology from 1997 to 2000, and was awarded the Leeuwenhoek medal lecture of the Royal Society in 2000. He was named a Knight Bachelor in the 2007 New Years Honours list.[5] He was President of the Marine Biological Association from 2007 to 2008. He died suddenly in Royal Leamington Spa on 12 January 2008.[1][6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Anthony, Christopher; Murrell, J. Colin (2016). "Sir Howard Dalton. 8 February 1944 — 12 January 2008". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. London: Royal Society. 62: 89. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2016.0007. 
  2. ^ Dalton, Howard (1968). Physiological Aspects of Growth of Azotobacter Chrdococcum in Continuous Culture (PhD thesis). University of Sussex. OCLC 500415384. 
  3. ^ "She advised him that he risked being called up, and suggested an unusual way to avoid the draft - by becoming a priest, one of the categories exempt from military service. Dalton discovered a little-known religious group called the Universal Life Church of California which for $25 would "ordain" anyone. He duly sent off a cheque and within days was delighted to learn that he was now a bona fide Minister of Religion. It became a running joke and his friends frequently addressed letters to the Reverend Howard Dalton; as a life-long atheist, he particularly relished the irony of his new title." 'Obituary of Professor Sir Howard Dalton, Microbiologist who became Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser just after the foot-and-mouth outbreak', Daily Telegraph January 15, 2008, Pg. 25.
  4. ^ "Dalton's research group at the University of Warwick". Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. 
  5. ^ Anon (2006). "Knighthood for UK science adviser". London: BBC News. 
  6. ^ Obituary in the Daily Telegraph: Professor Sir Howard Dalton