Professor Sir David Hull

James Spence Medallist

Year James Spence Medal awarded: 1996

After qualifying from Liverpool University David Hull served two years in the Royal Army Medical Corps, mainly at the British Military Hospital in Berlin. He returned to training posts in London before being appointed as Nuffield Research Fellow at the Institute for Medical Research in Oxford, where he formed links with other researchers and developed his research interests. His first paper, published in the Journal of Physiology in 1963 with Michael Dawkins, was about brown fat, an adipose-like tissue found in hibernating animals and in the human neonate.

He continued to research fat metabolism, temperature control and the respiratory function of young infants while he was the Senior Lecturer Consultant Physician and Head of the Respiratory Unit at the Hospital for Sick Children in London. During the 1970s when new academic paediatric departments in Britain were founded, David Hull became the foundation Professor of Child Health at the medical school in Nottingham, meaning he was able to ensure paediatrics received enough precedence at the school.

He developed an impressive range of clinical services in Nottingham and a high standard of teaching programmes. He edited and wrote a series of textbooks. His teachings and publications have been recognised internationally, and he received lectureships and prizes. He was an adviser on paediatrics to the Government Chief Scientist, served on the Committee of Safety of Medicine and was an adviser on paediatric medicine to the Chief Medical Officer, and was the President of the Neonatal Society. He was also the chairman and President of the BPA and supported it becoming a College.

Professor Sir David Hull was awarded the James Spence Medal due to his contributions to a host of organisations and working parties concerned with the health of children.