Vale Emeritus Professor Tim Glover – Obituary

Emeritus Professor Timothy Glover died peacefully at home on the night of January 27/28 2017, just 3 months short of his 90th birthday.


Tim, a proud Yorkshireman, was born in Shipley in 1922.  He received his secondary education at Bingley Grammar School over the period of the Second World War and went on to the University of Edinburgh where he was awarded a B.Sc.(Vet Science)(1950) and subsequently a D.Sc.(1974). He practiced for a short time as a veterinary surgeon in Leyburn but was destined for Academia. In 1951 he moved to the University of Cambridge where he completed an M.A.(1955) and a Ph.D.(1956) as a Research Assistant to Sir John Hammond in the department of the legendary biochemist Professor Thaddeus Mann, the Director of the Agricultural Research Council Unit of Reproductive Physiology and Biochemistry. He published a paper with Professor Mann in 1954 on the composition of seminal vesicle fluid.


For the next 20 years Tim taught Veterinary Anatomy at Cambridge, Stanford (USA), and Liverpool, holding positions from Lecturer to Reader. In 1975 Tim accepted the position of Chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Queensland and quickly developed a professional association with Dr John Hennessey, then Queensland’s premier human infertility specialist. This was a time of very limited options for the treatment of male infertility and Tim’s expertise in the investigation and diagnosis of the infertile male was invaluable.


Through his associations with Doug Saunders in Sydney and Ian Johnston in Melbourne and the AID Workshops that Ian coordinated, Tim introduced donor semen cryopreservation to John Hennessey’s practice. The Queensland Fertility Group was formed in 1982 by Drs Hennessey, Hynes, DeAmbrosis, Keeping and Kilvert to enable the development of IVF in Queensland. They turned to Tim Glover and his department to guide the scientific development of IVF. The first QFG employees were two scientists: Lynn Wilson was recruited from Cytogenetics at Royal Brisbane Hospital Pathology for her tissue culture experience while Terry Breen was recruited from Tim’s Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Queensland. Terry was a Research Assistant in the department, working on human spermatozoa with Senior Lecturer Dr. Jim Cummins. It was Terry and Lynn, with the advice and guidance of Jim Cummins in a miniscule laboratory at St.Andrew’s Hospital, who achieved Queensland Fertility Group’s first IVF pregnancy in Queensland in 1983.


Tim was a foundation member and Council member of the Fertility Society of Australia and became the first non-medical scientist chairperson of the Fertility Society of Australia in 1986. He was the LOC Chairman of the Fertility Society of Australia’s third annual scientific meeting, and first to be held in Brisbane, in 1984.


In 1990 he was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Fertility Society of Australia Tim and his wife Claire, a dietician, retired back to the delightful village of Braithwaite near Keighley in Yorkshire in 1988 and amongst other pursuits Tim took up conducting personalised trips for tourists through the dales. After the loss of Claire and the aggravation of a chest condition by the severe Yorkshire winters he returned to the warmer climate of Brisbane in 2006 where he devoted his time to family and writing.


Tim was appointed an Emeritus Professor of the Department of Veterinary Science of the University of Queensland on his retirement, already holding an Emeritus Professor position in the Department of O&G in Leeds. Tim was a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Science (1963), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Biology. He was a past president of The Australian Institute of Biology, the ASEAN representative to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and a member of the WHO Committee on the Regulation of Male Fertility.


Tim was a co-author and co-editor of two books on Male Fertility and Semen Analysis and in retirement wrote a philosophical book on male fertility entitled “Mating Males, an evolutionary perspective on mammalian reproduction”.


To his students Tim was courteous, encouraging, and supportive, particularly when things were not going well – all underlain by a great sense of humour. He had an infectious enthusiasm for reproductive biology and enjoyed robust scientific debate with his peers in a direct but always polite manner.


Tim Glover was a remarkable scientist, a complete gentleman, and a fascinating personality. We are all privileged to have known him and have benefited greatly from his intellect, expertise, friendship and humour.


February 27, 2017