It is with great sadness that we remember Dr. Anthony Perks, a beloved member of the University of British Columbia (UBC) community. Born in Gloucester on August 21, 1931, Dr. Perks inherited the title of Baron of Corcomroe in Ireland. He passed away on March 9, 2023, at the age of 91 in Vancouver, leaving behind a legacy of excellence in scholarship, research and teaching.
Dr. Perks obtained his BA and MA degrees from the University of Cambridge, then DPhil and DSc degrees from the University of St Andrews. Following a postdoc at the University of Florida, he was invited to lecture to medical students at Columbia University. He was then recruited to work as a Research Scholar in the Nuffield Institute and received a second Masters degree from Oxford University, before coming to Canada. Dr. Perks was an accomplished Professor in the Department of Zoology at UBC, where he dedicated his career to advancing the field of reproductive biology and endocrinology. Dr. Perks was a highly respected scientist and his work in the kallikrein system in reproductive cycles has been widely cited and influential in his field. His pioneering research of neurohypophysis hormonal influences in fetal and perinatal water metabolism using the guinea pig and sheep models is internationally acclaimed.
In addition to his research, Dr. Perks was a dedicated teacher and mentor. He was a valued member of the UBC Faculty of Science for many years. After retirement from the Faculty of Science in 1997, he was invited to join the UBC Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology as Honorary Professor, where he continued his passion as an active teacher/course manager in graduate-level courses in the Reproductive and Developmental Sciences Graduate Program until 2017. During these two decades, he had served on numerous research supervisory committees and guided many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Department. He was fondly known as “Dr. Pizza Perks” as he regularly brought in pizzas for attendees of the weekly graduate student seminars.
Dr. Perk’s impact extended far beyond UBC. He was a gentleman, pioneer and distinguished scholar in his field, and a strong advocate for research collaborations in the UK and USA. Outside academia, his thought-provoking theory published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, that the Stonehenge could represent a giant fertility symbol, was unequivocally original and sparked public curiosity.
Dr. Perks will be dearly missed by his life partner (wife) of 37 years Darlene Bailey, his colleagues, students, and the many research collaborators whose lives he touched. His dedication to advancing the field of reproductive/fetal physiology leaves a legacy that will continue to inspire and guide us all.