J. A. R. Miles

President NZMS 1957-60
Elected to Honorary membership: 
Otago University

John Arthur Reginald Miles was born in Sidcup, England, in 1913. He received his medical education at Cambridge University, where he graduated MA, MB BChir (1938), saw service in the Royal Army Medical Corps during WWII, and then obtained his MD (1951). He then spent 5 years as Huddersfield Lecturer in Special Pathology at St Thomas's Hospital, London. After moving to Australia in 1951, he spent 4 years at The Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science in Adelaide, then came to NZ in 1955, where he took up the Chair of Microbiology at the University of Otago. In 1960 he became the Honorary Director of the Medical Research Council's Virus Research Unit, a position he retained until his retirement from the department in 1979.

John's interests lay in the epidemiology of virus diseases, particularly in those transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks (arboviruses). His early work in Australia involved studies on Murray Valley encephalitis virus, then after coming to NZ, he became involved in searching for arboviruses in this country and in the study of epidemics of dengue fever and Ross River virus infection in the Pacific Islands. John was involved with several World Health Organisation Expert Committees for many years, and was President of many other organisations, including the Royal Society of New Zealand (1966-70), the Pacific Science Association (1979-83), the 15 th Pacific Science Congress (1983) and he was the second President of the NZMS following J.O.C. Neill. He was elected an Honorary Member of NZMS in 1979. John was instrumental in setting up the Wellcome Virus Laboratory in Suva, Fiji, where much of the later arbovirus work in the Pacific was based, and took an active part in the research work of the Virus Unit. In spite of his teaching commitments to the University, he was an active researcher, publishing some 138 scientific papers during his career. John passed away in January 2004