Biology & Natural History

Fell, Honor B. | A Discussion on the Pericellular Environment and its Regulation in Vertebrate Tissues

  • First edition, first printing. The uncommon full issue of the journal containing fourteen papers read at a symposium on the intercellular environment in multicellular organisms, organised by prominent cell biologist Honor B. Fell (1900-1986). A very attractive and fresh copy in the original wrappers. As well as serving as the organiser of the symposium, Fell contributed the article, “The role of mucopolysaccharides in the protection of cartilage cells against the immune reaction”.

    Fell’s childhood interest in animals and nature was encouraged by her parents, and she received what was at the time an unusually science-focused education. She earned four degrees at St. Andrews and the University of Edinburgh, and then went to Cambridge “to learn a new technique pioneered by T. S. P. Strangeways in his research hospital. Tissues culture was a relatively new art at this time, and he had developed it to the extent that he could study the behavior of living cells on a warm stage. Fell was impressed, and when Strangeways offered her a job as scientific assistant with a grant from the Medical Research Council, she accepted.

    Her first major study was on chick embryos, examining their cartilage and bones. This work culminated in her first important paper from the Strangeways in 1925, a study of the histogenesis of bone and cartilage in the long bone of embryonic chicks. From this beginning, she used techniques of organ culture to analyze the actions of various agents upon the cells of bone, cartilage, and associated tissues. The preliminary study was continued, and in 1926 she and Strangeways demonstrated that cartilage would not only grow but would differentiate in culture” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 440).

    When Strangeways died in 1926 Fell was appointed director of the institute, a position she held for the next forty-one years, performing important research on vitamin A and rheumatoid arthritis, and producing research that led to the discovery of interleuken-1, an important agent of the immune system. Fell was made a fellow of the Royal Society and Dame Commander of the British Empire, and received honorary degrees from Harvard, Cambridge, and Smith College.

  • ...Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. B. Biological Sciences. Volume 271, Pages 233-410, Number 912. 17 July, 1975. London: The Royal Society, 1975.

    Large octavo. Original light brown wrappers printed in black. 3 single and 9 double-sided plates from photomicrographs. Wrappers very lightly rubbed, narrow strip of fading at the top of the upper wrapper. Excellent condition.