Dr. David White passed away peacefully, at Victoria Hospital, on Thursday, June 1st, 2017, at the age of 71. Dr. White was the Chairman of Sernova’s Scientific Advisory Board and known for his pioneering work on the drug Cyclopsporin. He is survived by his wife Celia, his children Robert (Georgia), Jenny, Michelle and Richard, and stepchildren Nicholas, Richard and William.
Dr. White graduated from the Universities of Surrey and Cambridge and in 1975 was awarded a PhD in Immunology from Cambridge.
He was Board Certified in Pathology in 1984 (MRCPath) and elected as a fellow of the college in 1995 (FRCPath). Dr. White held appointments on the Editorial Board of several major international transplantation journals, served as a member of government advisory committees, and was awarded a number of academic prizes for his work.
Dr. White first became interested in transplantation while undertaking research at the Department of Surgery at Cambridge University in the 1970s, and over the course of his life published more than 300 scientific papers on subjects related to transplant immunology.
In conjunction with Professor Sir Roy Calne, he undertook much of the original experimental and clinical work that led to the development of the immunosuppressive drug Cyclosporin A. The drug became pivotal in preventing organ rejection following transplantation and has allowed new transplantation procedures to be developed.
His research into the immunological process underlying rejection of organ transplants led him to investigate how the immune system could be modified to enable successful transplantation of non-human organs – potentially solving the ‘organ donor crisis’.
These studies led Dr White in 1992 to create the world’s first genetically engineered pigs whose organs and tissues were modified for transplantation into humans.
In 1984 he and transplant surgeon John Wallwork founded Imutran Limited, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Novartis Pharma AG in 1996, and Dr White was appointed to the Novartis Global Research Management Board.
In 2000 Dr White was appointed the Novartis/Stiller Professor of Xenotransplantation at the University of Western Ontario.