Emer Prof Peter Beighton
Professor Peter Beighton was born in England in 1934 and qualified in medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, University of London in 1957.
After a series of internships, he served as a Medical Officer in the Parachute Regiment and with the United Nations forces during the Congo crisis. In 1962 he commenced training in internal medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital, London and in 1968-1969 he held a Research Fellowship in clinical genetics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA. He subsequently undertook investigations in the Sahara Desert and epidemiologic studies on Easter Island and in Southern Africa.
He was appointed as Professor of Human Genetics in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Cape Town in 1972 and from 1983-1998 he was also Director of the MRC Unit for Medical Genetics. He is a Fellow and former Vice-President of the Royal Society of South Africa, and a former Chairman of the South African Human Genetics Society. Professor Beighton’s research has involved inherited disorders of the skeleton and connective tissues, together with genetic conditions which cause deafness, crippling and visual handicap. In the early stages of his career, he received Fulbright and Oppenheimer Fellowships, and his contributions were subsequently recognised by the award of the gold medal of the British Orthopaedic Association, the President’s Medallion of the SA Orthopaedic Association, the Smith & Nephew literary award, and the silver medal of the SA Medical Research Council. He has also been accorded Fellowships of the University of Cape Town and the British Society of Rheumatology, and in 1999 he obtained the degree of Master of Philosophy in History at the University of Lancaster, UK. Professor Beighton retired with Emeritus status at the end of 1999, retaining his links with UCT, and collaborating with the University of the Western Cape Faculty of Dentistry. In 2002, he received the Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze, from President TM Mbeki for outstanding achievements in medical genetics. He was still active at UCT in 2012, with the additional status of Senior Scholar.
Fourteen of Emeritus Professor Beighton’s postgraduate students have been awarded Doctorates, and nine of these persons have achieved Professorial or Associate Professorial status. Professor Beighton is the author or co-author of 20 monographs and editions, 30 chapters and more than 400 medical publications.