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Published online: 13 August 2018

Vale Associate Professor Sylvia Mary Kirov

By Emeritus Professor John Goldsmid and Dr Louise Roddam

Members of ASM will be saddened to hear of the recent death of Associate Professor Sylvia Kirov.

Sylvia graduated from University of Sydney (BSc Hons.) and completed her PhD at ANU with expertise in two disciplines; immunology and microbiology, before accepting a position at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) in 1975. Initially she joined the research team of Professor Ray Lowenthal in the Department of Medicine but, on the resignation of Dr Dick Tucker, who was appointed Director of the microbiology laboratory of the Royal Hobart Hospital, Sylvia joined the medical microbiology section of the UTAS Department of Pathology. Until that time, the microbiology section was mainly concerned with routine diagnostic work, assessment of new diagnostic laboratory methods and epidemiology. Sylvia brought to the department a research interest in such areas as microbial pathogenicity. She participated fully in the teaching of medical microbiology to medical, pharmacy and science students, with a special interest in Aeromonas and other enteric Gram-negative rods. She proved to be an outstanding teacher in bacteriology and virology and her enthusiasm and expertise attracted a significant number of students to undertake doctoral studies under her supervision. This was an important development and the research output in medical microbiology increased markedly; and more so when Professor Kon Muller became Head of Pathology.

Sylvia thus played an important role in the development and advancement of medical microbiology in Tasmania. Many of her postgraduate, Honours and PhD students went on to fill important academic posts, thanks to her tuition and guidance.

Sylvia was also an important contributor to microbiology through the ASM. Sylvia joined the ASM in 1971 as a BSc undergraduate. She held many roles in ASM over the years, serving time on the NEB/NEBQ, the research trust, two LOCs and NSAC as well as being an active member of SIGs, the state FASM advisor and a frequent convener and chair-person at ASM scientific meetings. In recognition of her significant contributions to the ASM, Sylvia was awarded an ‘ASM Distinguished Service Award’ in 2013.

As members of ASM, we are fully aware of her research talents and contributions and we are grateful for her considerable efforts to advance medical microbiology not only in Tasmania but for Australia as a whole.

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