David Spencer Smith — A tribute

David Spencer Smith — A tribute

TISSUE AND CELL, 1994 26 (5) 637-638 0 1994 Longman Group Ltd. EDITORIAL David Spencer Smith - A Tribute Last year (1993) marked the end of David S...

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TISSUE AND CELL, 1994 26 (5) 637-638 0 1994 Longman Group Ltd.

EDITORIAL David Spencer

Smith - A Tribute

Last year (1993) marked the end of David Spencer Smith’s involvement as editor of Tissue & Cell. He has decided to step down from chief editorship of the Journal, remarking that ‘25 years of doing anything is enough for anyone’. However, he has chosen not to end his role entirely since he wishes to continue to review articles in his field, and hopes also to contribute further manuscripts. What follows is a brief tribute to him and his professional contributions, as well as notes on his role in the founding and development of this truly international journal. David was born in London, where he developed an interest in garden insects from the age of 4 years, concentrating, a few years later, on butterflies which, in those days, abounded in the Berkshire countryside. He maintained his interest in biology through college and received his first degree in Cambridge in 1955, at about the time when useful transmission electron micrographs of biological materials were beginning to surface. He became a doctoral student in the Department of Zoology, Cambridge, under the guidance of the late Sir Vincent Wigglesworth - the ‘father of insect physiology’ (who, incidentally, contributed papers to Tissue & Cell into his 90s). For his PhD research, David studied the development of rudimentary flight muscles of flightless beetles, prompted by the suggestion that loss of flight ability might be an evolutionary adaptation to island life. At this time, David experienced much of the development of electron microscopy. He first became exposed to the technique during 1956-8, working with Bob Horne in the Cavendish Lab in Cambridge to obtain his first electron micrographs on the Siemans Elmiskop 1. He described to me his struggles with thin sectioning (at night, when the building vibrated

less) on a Huxley-Hodge-Spiro microtome, with knife-making and embedding which were more or less self-taught, since few routine methodologies had been developed in those days. It was an exciting time, recognizing the possibilities opened up at the level of the electron microscope. He spent 3 post-doctoral years at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (which became the University during his stay), a ‘hotbed’ of electron microscopy, under Keith Porter’s leadership in a lab located first in a sub-basement of the ‘Rock’. George Palade. Monty Moses, Marilyn Farquhar and Phil Siekevitz were senior colleagues, and Dan Moore occupied an adjacent laboratory. It was a cosmopolitan group, with Giuseppe Millonig, Lucien Caro, Walter Stoeckenius. Fritz Miller, Raul Machado, Carlo Bruni, Eichi Yamada, Clara Franzini-Armstrong and others working there. Lee Peachey and David Luck were PhD students at this time. Don Fawcett, Sandy Palay, Gabe Godman and Michael Locke were among the memorable visitors. David recalls that ‘one could pick up almost any invertebrate tissue and look at it for the first time, and the amount of new information produced was quite phenomenal’. While there, David worked on a range of excitable cells, particularly on insect flight muscle. David Sabatini introduced glutaraldehyde as a primary fixative when he visited the laboratory, epoxy resins came into use and Humberto Fernandez-Moran provided the first diamond knives: the standard microtome was the Porter-Blum MT-1 and RCA-2 microscopes were used routinely. often in the night shift’ by the junior members. David returned to Cambridge in 1962 as a postdoctoral Fellow, primarily to fulfil a visa requirement, again working in Cambridge. 637


where Zoology now had a brand new Philips 200 under the direction of Bill Grimstone. Subsequently, he took a position at the University of Virginia as a faculty member in the Department of Biology, and in 1966 moved to the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami. It was in Miami in the late 1970s that I first met David and developed an admiration for his expertise and numerous scientific contributions. In 1980, he returned to the land of his citizenshi to take up the Hope chair of Zoology b ntomology at Oxford University, a position he holds today. He maintains a fruitful collaboration with Jose de1 Castillo and Stuart Ramos at the University of Puerto Rico. He mixes fine structure with a revived interest in butterflies and has recently published a book on the butterfly faunas of south Florida and the West Indies, with his work often taking him to Puerto Rico and to Cuba. Discussions on a possible new journal were first initiated between David Smith and the Edinburgh publishers, Oliver & Boyd. There was a paucity of journals in electron microscopy at that time and it was felt that there was a definite niche for a new publication describing biological structure at all levels,


with the highest engraving quality. From these discussions emerged the first issue of Tissue & Cell in 1969. After a short time, publication was taken over by the Longman Group, and later in an internal switch within Longmans to their medical division, Churchill Livingstone, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Journal was first published quarterly, but as manuscript submissions increased this was moved to the present bimonthly format. David always strove to maintain a broad base for the Journal in publishing a wide range of information relating to plants and animals. David was sole editor for many years. Una Ryan joined him as the American Editor when he took up his appointment in Oxford, and I succeeded Una in 1990. Tissue & Cell is internationally recognized in the areas of ultrastructural research (not excluding those concerning insect physiology!). On behalf of all his colleagues and friends made in association with Tissue & Cell, we wish David the best as he takes a well deserved rest from the duties of editorship and begins new endeavours. Lonnie Russell Editor