Denis Parsons Burkitt

Denis Parsons
Life Science
Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science
For establishment of a virus-cancer link in Burkitt's lymphoma.

Denis Parsons Burkitt graduated as a physician from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland in 1935. He began training as a surgeon thereafter, and became a fellow of Edinburgh's Royal College of Surgeons in 1938.

Dr. Burkitt was working for the Ministry of Health in Kampala, Uganda in 1957 when he first saw an unusual lymphoma affecting the face and jaw of a child. He made a study of this affliction, and discovered that it was commonest in areas where malaria is endemic. He also found it to be associated with the presence of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus.

In addition to first describing and studying this tumor that came to be named after him (Burkitt's lymphoma), he also became a passionate early advocate for high fiber diets, touting fiber's role in preventing ailments such as appendicitis and colon cancer.

Information as of 1992