Denis Parsons Burkitt CMG, MD, DSc, FRS, FRCS, FTCD (1911-93) Irish by birth, Trinity by the grace of God.Br J Haematol 2012; 156(6):770-6BJ
Denis Parsons Burkitt, surgeon and research scientist, is a household name in the medical profession. Denis received his BA in 1933 and graduated as a physician in 1935 from Trinity College, Dublin. After serving as a surgeon in the Royal Army Medicine Corps during World War II, he worked as a surgeon and lecturer in Africa. It was in Africa that he developed exceptional observational and analytical skills, which led him to identify and formally develop a successful treatment for a childhood cancer that is now called Burkitt Lymphoma. The influence of Christianity in his life was huge. Throughout his life he remained extremely modest, attributing much of what he had achieved to the work of others. Denis's contributions to haemato-oncology remain salient today, and his discoveries continue to generate new research. Throughout his career he received some of the highest scientific honours from many different countries across the globe.