James Duncan Robertson Scotland England India Italy Sierra Leone

Biography of James Duncan Robertson

James Duncan Robertson matriculation 1929-30
James Duncan Robertson matriculation 1929-30

James Duncan Robertson graduated BSc, with Second Class Honours, in 1933.

He was born in Glasgow on the 16th January 1912, the son of James Robertson, a local headmaster, and Phemie Helen Hunter Muir, a school teacher.

James went to school at Rutherglen Academy, where he emerged as Dux medallist in 1929, before matriculating in the University of Glasgow for the first time in 1929-30 at the age of 17. He signed up to study pure Science and took classes in Botany and Geology, before realising his passion for Zoology which he began studying in 1930-31. At the age of 20 James was studying Honours Zoology under the famous (then) Professor John Graham Kerr.

James spent a further two years as a Robert Donaldson Scholar in the Zoology department of Glasgow University before moving to Cambridge University, where he held a Carnegie Scholarship, to study for a PhD. He graduated with his PhD in 1937 and would eventually return to Glasgow University as a member of the teaching staff.

As well as teaching undergraduate students Zoology, James Duncan Robertson also became very involved in zoological research, particularly concerning malaria and the Plasmodium found within Anopheles mosquitoes which is responsible for spreading malaria.

Robertson worked on malaria research during WWII in Sierra Leone and also served in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1941-44 in West Africa and later in Italy and India. The Hunterian Museum has an extensive series of mosquitoes that resulted mainly from Roberson’s work in Sierra Leone. The collection mainly consists of specimens of Anopheles gambiae and A. melas but over 30 other mosquito species are also present.

James died on the 22nd December 1993, aged 81.


James Duncan Robertson
Born 16 January 1912, Glasgow.
Died 22 December 1993.
GU Degree: BSc, 1933;
University Link: Graduate, Staff
Occupation categories: Malariologist
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Record last updated: 26th Feb 2013

Country Associations

Scotland Scotland, Glasgow, Glasgow
Place of Birth

England England, Cambridge

India India, No Region

Italy Italy, No Region

Sierra Leone Sierra Leone, No Region

University Connections

University Roles

  • Graduate
  • Staff