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Published: 7 November 2014

Dr Paul Kenneth Priscott 1950–2014

Hilary Fong

Dr Paul Kenneth Priscott (photo courtesy of ams Laboratories P/L) grew up and was educated in the UK, earned his MSc in Virology from the University of Portsmouth, Reading and PhD in Microbiology/Development Biology from the University of London. From 1967 to 1976, he held various positions in government institutions and laboratory positions in the UK. In 1976, he became a research scholar with the Medical Research Council Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, UK and University of London, from where he was awarded his PhD in 1980. His research involved numerous techniques for the growth, assay of mycoplasmas, viruses, and cell and embryo cultures. His research work in this area was first published in 1982 in the Archives of Virology. In 1981, he became the Raine Research Fellow with the University of Western Australia involving collaborative and independent research into normal and abnormal development using in vitro culture techniques; thus opening a new phase of Paul’s life in Australia.

After four years as the Raine Research Fellow at University of WA, Paul took up a new position as Research Officer with the WA Department of Agriculture responsible for the virology laboratory and involved in various aspects of regulatory testing services and research ethics. In 1988, Paul made the move to the eastern states when he took up a position as the Operations Manager at the Glenorie facility of Arthur Webster Pty Ltd before moving on as the Director of Microbiology, Stanford Consulting Laboratories.

In 1996, Paul set up his own consulting business, ams Consulting Laboratories, which fast became the ‘household name’ in pharmaceutical and cosmetic manufacturers. From the humble beginning with a small laboratory of four staff in Rockdale, ams expanded to a much bigger facility with 40 staff and 900 square metre of laboratory space in Silverwater, as well as branches in Brisbane and China, which is under construction. The laboratories within ams at Silverwater are well-equipped providing services for a wide range of contract microbiological testings.

Paul had a vision for his company dedicated to professional consulting and testing in pharmaceutical and cosmetic microbiology. Under his direction, ams quickly extended their services to other therapeutic areas including tissue banking, biotherapy and other high end applications. As a person committed to excellence and compliance, Paul ensured ams gaining registration with various regulatory instrumentalities including the local TGA, FDA(US), NATA and ISO Standards by SAI Global.

In 1992, Paul joined the Committee of CAPSIG (NSW) and since then worked tirelessly as a very active member on the committee and later took up a dual role including the National Convenor of CAPSIG. As a Committee member, Paul had contributed significantly to organising technical seminars, CAPSIG scientific seminars at the Annual ASM Conferences and other activities. As CAPSIG National Convenor, Paul was our liaison officer between state branches of CAPSIG and ASM nationally. Paul had always taken active part in the organising committee of the annual ASM National Conference and bringing notable speakers from overseas. Under the directorship of Paul, ams Laboratories P/L has been one of the major sponsors for CAPSIG (NSW) for many years. More recently, Paul was instrumental to the re-establishment of CAPSIG (QLD).

Concomitant with all these voluntary activities, Paul had found time to become an ardent industry advocate, sitting on many sub-committees. He was on the Editorial Board of the PMF Newsletter, an international publication for pharmaceutical microbiologists, member of the council of NATA, member of Standards Australia sub-committee CH/34, TGA – member of the Disinfectants Working Group and ACCORD – member of industry working party on Disinfectants and Antibacterial Products. His publications, inter alia, include chapter in Pharmaceutical Quality, PDA 2004 and Microbiology in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, 2nd Edition, PDA 2008.

Over the past two decades, Paul has presented numerous seminars on microbiological aspects and developments in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries organised by CAPSIG; as well as the RACI Pharmaceutical Sciences Group, Australian Cosmetic Chemists Society, among others. Indeed, his latest and last presentation under CAPSIG was delivered on 22 July, less than four weeks before he succumbed to complications of his illness on 19 August 2014.

Paul was diagnosed with cancer quite a number of years ago; however, he always remained positive, confident and active. He never allowed his chemotherapy, stem-cell transplant and all other medical intervention to stand in his way of pursuing his dreams. His courage and dedication to moving forward was inspirational and admired by all those who were close and associated with him in any way.

Paul, a true scholar, scientist and gentleman was popular and highly regarded in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical technical community. Perhaps the feelings of all those surrounded him is best summed by the Executive Director of Accord: ‘Paul was highly respected very well regarded, not only for his expertise and experience, but also his engaging style and sense of humour... He will be sincerely missed by all who had the privilege to have known him...’.

CAPSIG (NSW) would like to take this opportunity to offer our deepest sympathy to Paul’s family for their loss of a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and to the staff of ams, their loss of a great leader and manager.

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