Prof Angela Davies Russell
Prof Angela Davies Russell
Prof Davies Russell was a UK based parasitologist (from the University of Kingston) who dedicated a significant amount of her time to the study of parasites in South Africa and Botswana, and especially to the training of South African parasitology students. She was the world authority on diseases of ectothermic vertebrates and earned this status through dedicated work on this group of parasites since the 1970s. Not only did she publish extensively in this field (more than 100 papers), but included in her publications are 4 major reviews published in Advances of Parasitology, one of the highest ranked journals in Parasitology. These reviews focussed on the biology of fish coccidians (74 pages); biology of fish haemogregarines (86 pages); biology of some intraerythrocytic parasites of fishes, amphibian and reptiles (107 pages); and on the biology of the parasitic stages of gnathiid isopods (102 pages). She also co-authored the chapter entitled "Diseases caused by Apicomplexans" in the 2008 textbook on Fish Diseases.
Contribution to Parasitology in Africa:
Prof Davies Russell started collaborating with the Aquatic Parasitology Research Group at the University of the Free State in 1996. Her initial involvement was to assist in the training of a student in the identification of fish blood parasites, but this quickly developed into an extended collaboration which included student supervision, student exchange, publications and joint research projects (funded national and internationally). This collaboration with South African researchers grew significantly over the years to include parasitologists from the University of Johannesburg and North-West University, where she was appointed as Visiting Professor (2008–2011) and Extraordinary Professor (2012–2013) respectively. One of her major contributions to South African parasitology was to rekindle the study of fish blood parasites in South Africa, with the paper from Smit & Davies (1999) on haemogregarines of marine fishes in South Africa, being the first publication of its kind since the work done by H.B. Fantham in 1919.
Prof Davies Russell was also a dedicated friend of PARSA. Her first involvement with the society started at the PARSA 2000 conference in Bloemfontein where she presented the keynote address. In the 13 years that followed, her name featured in nearly every PARSA abstract book as co-author of the papers and posters presented by all the South African students she co-supervised. In 2013, Prof Davies Russell was awarded the highest honour from PARSA, the Elsdon-Dew Medal, in recognition of her contribution to parasitology in southern Africa. Sadly, she passed away suddenly shortly thereafter from a massive subarachnoid haemorrhage. The Angela Davies Russell Award was thus created as a tribute to this remarkable lady and will reward hard-working students for their outstanding research outputs.