Photograph of Sir Michael Woodruff, surgeon (1911-2001)
Sir Michael Woodruff performed the first successful kidney transplant in the UK at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in October 1960.
Woodruff was born in London but grew up in Australia where he went to medical school, graduating in 1938. After the second world war (where he fought and was imprisoned in Malaysia), he travelled widely and took up various teaching posts in the UK and New Zealand. In 1957 he was appointed to the Chair of Systematic Surgery at the University of Edinburgh. There, he established a team who achieved world renown in the fields of graft rejection, cancer immunity and immunosuppression; and in 1960 he attempted the first kidney transplant on a set of identical twins. The operation was a success, and the brothers survived.
Woodruff went on to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and was knighted in 1969.
LHSA Ref: HW (P362)
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