M.G.M. Pryor

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Mark Gillachrist Marlborough Pryor
M.G.M. Pryor fair use.jpg
Born(1919-02-25)25 February 1919
Died19 October 1970(1970-10-19) (aged 55)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Alma materEton College
Trinity College, Cambridge
Scientific career
InstitutionsTrinity College, Cambridge
Doctoral advisorA.D. Imms

Mark Gillachrist Marlborough Pryor (25 February 1915 – 19 October 1970) was a British biologist,[1] who was Senior Tutor and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Pryor was the middle son of Lt. Col. Walter Marlborough Pryor and his wife Ethne Philippa (née Moore), the daughter of Sir Norman Moore, 1st Baronet.[2] His paternal grandfather was Marlborough Robert Pryor, who was an amateur naturalist "well known in Cambridge scientific circles".[3] He was educated, per family tradition, at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He worked as a research student under A.D. Imms.

Pryor married Sophie Raverat,[4] daughter of the late French artist Jacques Raverat and his wife Gwendolen Mary (née Darwin) (a granddaughter of Charles Darwin), in 1940. They had four children: Emily Pryor (1942–2008), William Marlborough Pryor (born 1945), Lucy (known professionally as "Lucy Raverat", born 1948) and Amy Eleanor (born 1952, known as Nelly; she married her 3rd cousin, the film and television director Philip Trevelyan).

Pryor was elected a Fellow of Trinity College in 1939. Before the war, he published with P.F. Holmes a paper on barnacles in Horsey Mere[5] in Nature. He also published a double paper on the hardening of oothecae[6] and cuticles[7] in insects.

During the Second World War, Pryor worked at the Timber and Adhesives Division of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, RAE Farnborough, where he applied his entomological knowledge to the development of aircraft glue, alongside Norman de Bruyne. After the war, de Bruyne continued commercial production of glues, but Pryor returned to Cambridge, where he continued his research. He collaborated on papers with, amongst others, John Tileston Edsall,[8] Laurence Picken and Michael Swann[9] and A.R. Todd,[10][11][12] although for the slight majority of his papers he was the only author.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

Pryor became a tutor at Trinity in 1955, and was later senior tutor until 1964.

In 1967 Mark and Sophie Pryor were involved in a road traffic accident, in which she was relatively unharmed but which left him with brain damage in a persistent vegetative state for almost three years until his death, aged 51.

There is a memorial brass to Pryor in Trinity College Chapel[19]


  1. ^ "Obituaries: M. G. M. Pryor". Nature. 228 (5275): 1009–1010. 5 December 1970. doi:10.1038/2281009c0.
  2. ^ "Burke's peerage".
  3. ^ Nature 105, 333-334 (13 May 1920) | doi:10.1038/105333a0
  4. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/art-obituaries/8705200/Sophie-Gurney.html
  5. ^ P.F. Holmes; M.G.M. Pryor (29 October 1938). "Barnacles in Horsey Mere". Nature. 142 (3600): 795–796. doi:10.1038/142795b0.
  6. ^ M.G.M. Pryor (1940). "On the hardening of the ootheca of daBlatta orientalis". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 128 (852): 378–393. doi:10.1098/rspb.1940.0017. JSTOR 82167.
  7. ^ M.G.M. Pryor (1940). "On the hardening of the cuticle of insects". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 128 (852): 393–407. doi:10.1098/rspb.1940.0018. JSTOR 82168.
  8. ^ R. Barer; M.G.M. Pryor; I. MacArthur; J. T. Edsall. "Ultra-Violet and Infra-Red Investigations on Muscle". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 137 (886): 80–87. doi:10.1098/rspb.1950.0024. JSTOR 82486.
  9. ^ L.E.R. Picken, M.G.M. Pryor & M.M. Swann (29 March 1947). "Orientation of fibrils in natural membranes". Nature. 159 (4039): 434. doi:10.1038/159434a0. PMID 20293543.
  10. ^ M.G.M. Pryor; P.B. Russell & A.R. Todd (1946). "Protocatechuic acid, the substance responsible for the hardening of the cockroach ootheca". Biochemical Journal. 40 (5–6): 627–628. PMC 1270017. PMID 16748064.
  11. ^ M.G.M. Pryor; P.B. Russell & A.R.Todd (22 March 1947). "Phenolic Substances Concerned in Hardening the Insect Cuticle". Nature. 159 (4038): 399–400. doi:10.1038/159399a0.
  12. ^ R. H. Hackman; M. G. M. Pryor & A. R. Todd (1948). "The occurrence of phenolic substances in arthropods". Biochemical Journal. 43 (3): 474–477. doi:10.1042/bj0430474. PMC 1274717. PMID 16748434.
  13. ^ M.G.M. Pryor (September 1948). "Mouthparts and Feeding Habits of Blepharoceridae (Diptera)". Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London A. 23 (7–9): 67–70. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3032.1948.tb00619.x.
  14. ^ M.G.M. Pryor (13 April 1950). "The Molecular Mechanism of Contraction". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 137 (886): 71–73. doi:10.1098/rspb.1950.0020. JSTOR 82482.
  15. ^ M.G.M. Pryor (December 1951). "On the abdominal appendages of larvae of Trichoptera, Neuroptera, and Lepidoptera, and the origins of jointed limbs". Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science. 92: 351–376.
  16. ^ M.G.M. Pryor (31 January 1953). "Heat Exchanges of a Muscle Model". Nature. 171 (213): 213. doi:10.1038/171213a0.
  17. ^ M.G.M. Pryor (July 28, 1954). "Inhibitors of Tyrosinase". Journal of Experimental Biology. 32 (3): 468–484.
  18. ^ M.G.M. Pryor (2 April 1955). "Tanning of blowfly puparia". Nature. 175 (600). doi:10.1038/175600a0.
  19. ^ http://trinitycollegechapel.com/about/memorials/brasses/pryor/