To study developments in the laboratory investigation of diseased human tissue - UK, USA, Canada

Ron Rainbow B App Sc, Dip MLS, FAIMS, MRCPA has been Medical Scientist in Charge Dept of Anatomical Pathology at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Tasmania from 1975 to his retirement in 2006.

Ron was also an Honorary Senior Lecturer (Part Time) at the University of Tasmania School of Health Sciences from 1990 to 2006.

In addition to his Churchill Fellowship he has won a significant number of awards including:

  • Wellcome Australasia Award for standard of excellence in the 1979 Australian Institute of Medical Scientists Fellowship Examination (PhD equivalent)
  • Australian Institute of Medical Scientists National Saal Foley Award for the Australian Medical Scientist of the year in 1992
  • Royal Hobart Hospital/University of Tasmania Medical Research Week Award for best scientific paper – 1994
  • Merck Australia Award for scientific excellence 1996
  • Admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in recognition of years of excellence in contributing to the field of Histopathology

Ron has also 18 peer reviewed papers in international journals, plus is author of a text book on Light and Fluorescence Microscopy Immunohistochemistry. A practical approach.




Ron’s Fellowship took him to the following places:


  • University of British Columbia, Dept of Academic Pathology, Glycoprotein Research Unit, Vancouver to study latest research in the demonstration of certain carbohydrates present in the lining surfaces of the gastrointestinal tract and its application to tumour diagnosis.
  • Visits to the University of British Columbia Health Sciences Centre Hospital and the Vancouver Children’s Hospital to examine a revolutionary Meditech Anatomical Pathology computer system for the recording, storage and retrieval of their patient reports.
  • Shaughnessy Hospitalto examine other aspects of glycoprotein research and also methods of absorbing tissue antigens for controlling accuracy of investigations.
  • Vancouver General Hospital investigating advances in methodologies for demonstrating nerve cells and fibres.
  • Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, Vancouver Island investigating methods for oestrogen receptor assaying for breast cancer assessment.

United States of America:

  • University of Southern California/Los Angeles Medical Centre, Los Angeles to study immunologic surface marker techniques using monoclonal antibodies, methods for biotinylating antibodies and in situ characterisation of T and B lymphocytes in lymphoma studies, and a range of immunohistochemical methods for breast and prostatic cancer.
  • Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington DC  to study advances in the laboratory investigation in genito-urinary pathology, opthalmic pathology, neurosurgery pathology, histochemistry, bone disease pathology and the lates advances in electron microscopy.
  • University of Columbia Medical Centre/ College of Physicians, New York to study the work they were doing in the immunohistochemical investigation of malignant melanoma, medullary thyroid cancer and other immunohistochemical work in diagnostic surgical pathology.
  • University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Centre, Dept of Pathology, Immunohistochemistry Laboratory to study flow chart systems to achieve a systematic approach to diagnostic tumour immunhistochemistry and methods to analyse non specific reactions and also how to demonstrate several tumour antigens concurrently.

 United Kingdom:

  • St Thomas’ Hospital, Dept of Histopathology, London to examine methods for doing immunohistochemistry on epoxy resin embedded tissue, thus enabling a fantastic microscopic resolution previously not available and provided greater cellular detail for easier tumour diagnosis. New antibodies for breast tumour diagnosis had recently been developed here and it was fortuitous to examine methods involved in achieving this breakthrough.
  • Mount Vernon Hospital, Department of Pathology, Northwood, Middlesex to study the enzyme histochemistry and immunohistochemistry used in their National Lymphoma Trial work.
  • Nuffield Dept of Pathology, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford to study significant breakthroughs in the immunolabelling of T cell antigens and acute lymphocytic leukaemia antigens allowing simultaneous visualisation of cell morphology and the antigen location, as well as the simultaneous demonstration of surface and cytoplasmic antigens.
  • Bristol Royal Infirmary, Dept of Osteoarticular Pathology, Bristol to study epoxy and acrylic resin embedding methods used on bone biopsies in their National Bone Tumour Registry work and the various enzyme histochemical methods used on fresh bone tumour biopsies.
  • Bristol Polytechnic, Frenchay, Bristol to study breakthrough resin embedding techniques for light and electron microscopy. The senior lecturer in Histopathology there had an international reputation for his work in this area.
  • West Middlesex University Hospital, Dept of Histopathology, Isleworth, Middlesex to study mucin histochemistry work and resin embedding techniques for bone marrow trephine biopsies for metabolic bone disease assessment.


The vast majority of information learned was subsequently developed and introduced into the Department of Anatomical at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Immunohistochemistry was established as a major diagnostic tool for tumour diagnosis at the Royal Hobart Hospital and was arguably the first Public Hospital in Australia to introduce this service. The Dept of Anatomical Pathology established a statewide service in this area for both the public and private sectors.

Acrylic resin embedding methods were developed for kidney biopsy diagnostic work and this became a statewide service as well for both the public and private sectors.

Epoxy resin embedding methods were developed and introduced for metabolic bone disease assessment and this became a statewide service for both the public and private sectors.

I set up and ran immunohistochemistry courses and workshops for scientific staff working in histopathology laboratories in Tasmania which eventually enabled them to carry out immunohistochemical investigations in their own laboratories.

I spent years advising and training University of Tasmania post graduate students in the use of immunohistochemistry for their research projects.

I spent many years as a guest speaker on immunohistochemistry at scientific meetings across Australia and lectured immunohistochemistry to undergraduates at the University of Tasmania.

I wrote a text book on immunohistochenistry and two chapters in another text book as well as a number of scientific papers in peer reviewed international journals.

Without the wonderful privilege of being awarded this Churchill Fellowship most of the above achievements wouldn’t have happened.