The British Society for Immunology is saddened to learn about the recent death of our Honorary Member, Professor Leslie Baruch Brent. Leslie had been a member of the British Society for Immunology for over 60 years, making significant contributions to the field over decades.
“Professor Leslie Brent was a leading light in immunology and his work underpinned research in this field for decades," said Professor Arne Akbar, President of the British Society for Immunology. "Having arrived in the UK on the Kindertransport in 1938, Leslie built an incredibly successful career in immunology, working his way to the position of Professor of Immunology at St. Mary's Hospital and Medical School, London, a role at which he excelled until his retirement in 1990. As a PhD student, Leslie was a key figure in the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance, working with Peter Medawar and Rupert Billingham. This work revolutionised our understanding of the factors involved in transferring tissues from one individual to another and formed a new field of research, laying the foundations for tissue and organ transplantation, medical procedures which have now saved hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. Leslie’s contribution to the field of immunology and the medical advance of tissue and organ transplantation was huge and the community mourns his passing with great sadness.”
In later years, Leslie worked closely with the Association of Jewish Refugees to highlight the role that the Kindertransport played in saving his life as a Jewish child refugee escaping from Germany in the 1930s and to campaign on current policy surrounding the ability of refugee children to come to this country. He is featured in their current podcast talking about his experiences. He was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year's Honours List "for services to Holocaust education and the field of immunology and organ transplantation".
Leslie will be much missed by all in the immunology community and the British Society for Immunology sends our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
We will publish a full obituary shortly. In the meantime, below are links to a couple of articles that Leslie wrote for the BSI on different topics that were close to his heart.
- A cri de coeur - but nowt to do with immunology - an article about the Kindertransport and current UK policy in this area published in the November 2016 issue of Immunology News
- Transplantation tolerance – a historical introduction - an article on his joint discovery of acquired immunological tolerance published in our journal Immunology in December 2015