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Professor Cathy Ison: her contribution to the science and practice of STI control
  1. David A Lewis1,2,3,4,
  2. Gwenda Hughes5
  1. 1Centre for HIV and STIs, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, a Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa
  2. 2Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  3. 3Division of Medical Microbiology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4Sexually Transmitted Infections Editorial Team
  5. 5HIV and STI Department, Public Health England Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control, Colindale, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor David Lewis, Centre for HIV and STIs, Room F30, National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NHLS), Private Bag X4, Sandringham 2131, South Africa; davidl{at}

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Professor Cathy Ison will retire from her position as Director of the Sexually Transmitted Bacterial Reference Unit (STBRU) within Public Health England (PHE) during December 2013. As many of our readers will know, Cathy has devoted her working life to the science and practice of sexually transmitted infection (STI) control. It is therefore highly appropriate for our journal to honour and celebrate Cathy's many and varied contributions to our field in this issue (figure 1).

Figure 1

Professor Cathy Ison.

Cathy began her working life as a junior medical laboratory scientific officer (MLSO) at Central Middlesex Hospital in north-west London in 1965. In 1967, Cathy took up a position as an MLSO in Clinical Microbiology at St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, London, and contributed to the scientific endeavours of St. Mary's campus for 37 years. In doing so, Cathy witnessed a number of organisational name changes until she took up her current position to establish STBRU at the former Health Protection Agency, which became part of PHE. After obtaining her Higher National Certificate in Medical Microbiology, Cathy successfully obtained a number of qualifications including Fellowship of the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences, a PhD from the University of London and, somewhat unusual for a non-medical graduate, both Membership and subsequent Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists. More recently, Cathy obtained membership of the Institute for Learning and Teaching (2002) and an honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians (2010) in recognition of her many achievements in the field of STIs. After being promoted to the …

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  • Contributors This editorial was co-written and all drafts reviewed by both authors.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.