Emmanuel Amoroso (16 Sep 1901–30 Oct 1982)

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Emmanuel Ciprian Amoroso was born in Woodbrook, Trinidad on September 16th 1901. He attended St Mary’s College and participated in the arts and sports. He left after five years due to failing eyesight – a problem which persisted throughout his life. When it slightly improved, he studied on his own and taught at his alma mater.

He left for Ireland at age 21 to study medicine at the University College Dublin. He sold newspapers and tutored in order to defray financial expenses and even became proficient at boxing. He won all the academic prizes and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1926 and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in 1929.

Amoroso spent two years in Germany studying at the Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg and Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Cell Research, Berlin on a Travelling Studentship from the National University of Ireland. In 1934 he received his doctorate from the University College, London.

He then joined the Royal Veterinary College as Senior Assistant, Histology and Embryology. The College focused on horse diseases but its research underwent unprecedented expansion to domestic and exotic animals through Amoroso’s work. His research on cell structure and function improved understanding of organ development and reproduction. He advanced understanding of the role of placenta hormones in pregnancy, fetal development and fetal endocrinology. He also studied nervous and circulatory systems and investigated the valves of the jugular vein of the giraffe, camel and ostrich which prevent the rush of blood to the head as the animal lowers its neck to drink water.

Amoroso was appointed to the College’s Chair of Veterinary Physiology from 1947 and held the post until retirement in 1968. He spoke six languages and mastered the art of lecturing. He is said to have created the finest department of Veterinary Physiology in England and was conferred the title of Emeritus Professor.

He received several honorary doctorates and in 1957 became the only West Indian elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of England. The British Government conferred upon him the title Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1969). His most cherished award was however the Trinity Cross from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (1976).

Amoroso passed away on October 30th 1982.