Frank Odds obituary

Other Lives: Specialist in the study of fungal pathogens and the diseases they cause

My friend and colleague Frank Odds, who has died aged 74, was a world authority on medical mycology – the study of fungi with reference to medicine.

For 15 years he was director of bacteriology and mycology at the Janssen Research Foundation in Belgium, where he helped in the development of drugs for the treatment of fungal infections. He also wrote a book, Candida and Candidosis (1988), which remains a defining text on the subject, and had a successful academic career working at Leeds University, the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta and the universities of Leicester and Aberdeen.

Frank was born in Paignton in Devon, where his father, also named Frank, was a chief engineer in the Royal Navy and his mother, Nellie (nee Jones), was a housewife. As a teenager at King Edward VI grammar school in Totnes, he devised a geometric algorithm called “spirolaterals”, which has since gone on to be used architecturally and in design, as well as in mathematical education.

After a degree in biochemistry at Leeds, followed by a PhD there, he became a visiting fellow at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta (1970–72), before returning to the UK for a postdoctoral fellowship at Leeds (1972–75). From there he took up his first faculty role as lecturer and then became a senior lecturer in medical microbiology at Leicester (1975–89) before moving to the Janssen Research Foundation in 1992.

Seven years later he returned to academia as professor of medical mycology at Aberdeen, where he helped to establish the Aberdeen Fungal Group as a pre-eminent presence in mycology, and where he retired in 2009.

He served as president of the British Society for Medical Mycology, the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology and the European Confederation of Medical Mycology, and was chair of the Wellcome Trust immunology and infectious disease grant panel, as well as on various editorial boards of international journals. Outside work he was an excellent pianist.

In 1978 he married Ali Bird, and she survives him, along with three children, Jo, Kathy and Graham, and three grandchildren, Malcolm, Fraser and Jessica.

Neil Gow

The GuardianTramp

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