Don Edgar Eyles

(4 September 1915 – 4 October 1963)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged about a dozen specimens collected by Don E. Eyles; most were collected with his spouse, Mary Stipe Eyles.  Don Eyles was by profession a parasitologist, but was a serious student of ornithology and botany; Mary Stipe Eyles had a masters degree in botany from Emory University.

Don Eyles was born 4 September 1915 to Francis L. and Mory A. Eyles. The 1920 US Federal Census lists the Eyles family as living in Atlanta, Georgia, and consisting of parents Francis L. (age 37), Mory A. (35), Francis L. (11), Don E. (4), and Ruth (1 month).

“In 1937 [Fort Pulaski National Monument in Chatham County, Georgia], employed student technician Don Eyles to study plant life and the shorebirds on Cockspur Island and surrounding areas.  His research recorded black skimmers, least turns, oyster catchers, marsh hens, and a large heron colony.  This study helped the [National Park Service] add the marshland of McQueen’s Island to the Monument to protect its wildlife.”2

Don Eyles suffered a fatal heart attack while in Penang, Malaya on 4 October, 1963, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 35, Site 2147) in Virginia.  He was survived by his spouse, Mary, sons Don E. Jr. and John, and daughter Mary Anne.3


Bruce-Chwatt, L. J. (1963) Dr. Don E. EylesNature 200 (4908): 733.  1

Dr. Don E. Eyles died on October 4, 1963, of coronary thrombosis on board ship in Penang, Malaysia, a few hours before he and his family were due to return to the United States. This sudden death of an outstanding scientist and excellent colleague was particularly tragic, as Dr. Eyles was about to retire after twenty-four years’ work for the U.S. Public Health Service to join the Lahore (Pakistan) Unit of the Institute of International Medicine of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Dr. Eyles was born in 1915 in Atlanta, Georgia, and obtained his M.S. (Biology) at Emory University and his Sc.D. at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

During the early period of his academic life he was interested in ornithology and medical entomology, but later much of his work was connected with investigations on malaria imported into the United States by returning Service-men, and with curative action of drugs against relapsing malaria infections. The difference between the effect of pyrimethamine and primaquine on the tissue forms of malaria parasites became clear as a result of this work. The curative action of pyrimethamine and sulphadiazine, and the synergistic effect of these drugs in toxoplasmosis, were reported by Eyles et al. in 1952, and these findings were promptly confirmed in acute and chronic forms of the disease. Much knowledge of the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis was due to the work of Eyles on the relationship between the infection in domestic animals and its transmission to man.

In 1960 Dr. Eyles, taking a clue from his accidental laboratory infection, showed that Plasmodium cynomolgi bastianellii of monkeys can be transmitted to man through a mosquito. This stared much now and still expanding research on the possibility of simian malaria as an anthropozoonosis.

In 1961 Dr. Eyles was given the task of establishing a research unit of the U.S. Public Health Service in Malaya and he went to the Far East accompanied by his wife and three children. The research unit was set up at the Institute for Medical Research in Kuala Lumpur and within less than three years Eyles and his Malaysian, American, British and Australian colleagues produced a remarkable series of investigations which have greatly extended our knowledge of simian malaria. Five new species of malaria parasites of Malaysian monkeys and of a moose-deer were discovered and their relationship to a number of anopheline vectors was established.

A new area for further research of considerable fundamental and practical importance was thus opened in a field that until recently seeded to be uninspiring and well-trodden. The impetus given in this was to the investigation of simian malaria was characteristic of Eyles’s vision, determination, leadership and phenomenal energy. During the past year Eyles was greatly interested in the problem of resistance of human plasmodia to synthetic drugs and particularly 4-aminoquinolines. He left a number of papers which are now awaiting publication.

Some of us who saw Eyles in September at the International Congresses of Tropical Medicine in Rio de Janeiro and who heard his summary of the work carried out in Malaya could not help saying that he seemed to be in a hurry to complete one job and to start another. He was in a hurry, indeed for this “appointment in Penang”.

Eyles’s work resulted in more than a hundred publications. He has demonstrated his qualities as an administrator of a research laboratory and his brilliance and versatility as an investigator of general and specific problems in parasitology. One of Eyles’s most important assets was his ability to work with a team; he has undoubtedly stimulated in others as much research as he has been personally responsible for. His proficiency in experimental work in parasitology was equaled by his general knowledge of ornithology, botany and entomology. He was an intensely live individual – an inveterate collector of almost anything, biological or otherwise – universally liked and admired by those who have had the good fortune to know him during his short, happy and fruitful life.


PUBLICATIONS (incomplete list)

Eyles, Don E.; Dunn, F. L.; Warren, McWilson; Guinn, Elizabeth SO (1963) Plasmodium coatneyi from the Philippines. The Journal of Parasitology 49(6): 1038.

Eyles, Don E. (1963) The Species of Simian Malaria: Taxonomy, Morphology, Life Cycle, and Geographical Distribution of the Monkey Species. The Journal of Parasitology 49(6): 866-887.

Eyles, Don E.; Warren, McWilson (1963) Hepatocystis from Macaca irus in Java. The Journal of Parasitology 49(6): 891.

Eyles, Don E.; Warren, McWilson (1962) Plasmodium inui in Sulawesi. The Journal of Parasitology 48(5): 739.

Wharton, R. H.; Eyles, Don E.; Warren, McWilsonMoorhouse, D. E. (1962) Anopheles leucosphyrus Identified as a Vector of Monkey Malaria in Malaya. Science 137 (2532): 758.

Sandosham, A. A.; Wharton, R. H.; Warren, M.; Eyles, D. E. (1962) Microfilariae in the Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta) from East Pakistan. The Journal of Parasitology 48 (3): 489.

Eyles, Don E.; Coatney, G. Robert; Getz, Morton E. (1960) Vivax-Type Malaria Parasite of Macaques Transmissible to Man. Science 131 (3416): 1812-1813.

Eyles, Don E. (1960) Anopheles freeborni and A. quadrimaculatus as Experimental Vectors of Plasmodium cynomolgi and P. inui. The Journal of Parasitology 46(5): 540.

Wharton, R. H.; Eyles, Don E. (1961) Anopheles hackeri, a Vector of Plasmodium knowlesi in Malaya. Science 134(3474): 279-280.

Jones, Frances E.; Melton, Marjorie L.; Lunde, Milford N.; Eyles, Don E.; Jacobs, Leon SO (1959) Experimental Toxoplasmosis in Chickens. The Journal of Parasitology 45(1): 31-37.

Eyles, Don E.; Coleman, Nell; Cavanaugh, D. J. (1956) Preservation of Toxoplasma gondii by Freezing . The Journal of Parasitology 42(4): 408-413.

Eyles, Don E.; Coleman, Nell (1956) Relationship of Size of inoculum to Time to Death in Mice Infected with Toxoplasma gondii. The Journal of Parasitology 42(3): 272-276.

Young, Martin D.; Eyles, Don E.; Burgess, Robert W.; Jeffery, Geoffrey M. (1955) Experimental Testing of the Immunity of Negroes to Plasmodium vivax. The Journal of Parasitology 41(3): 315-318.

Eyles, Don E.; Gibson, Colvin L.; Jones, Frances E.; Cuningham, M. E. G.(1954) Prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis in Memphis, Tennessee. The Journal of Parasitology 40(2): 216-221.

Eyles, Don E.; Jones, Frances E.; Jumper, John R.; Drinnon, Virginia P. (1954) Amebic infections in dogs. The Journal of Parasitology 40(2): 163-166.

Eyles, Don E. (1954) Serologic Response of White Rats to Toxoplasma Infection. The Journal of Parasitology 40(1): 77-83.

Eyles, Don E. (1952) Toxoplasma in the Norway Rat. The Journal of Parasitology 38(3): 226-229.

Eyles, Don E. (1952) Incidence of Trypanosoma lewisi and Hepatozoon muris in the Norway Rat. The Journal of Parasitology 38(3): 222-225.

Eyles, Don E. (1950) A Stain for Malarial Oocysts in Temporary Preparations. The Journal of Parasitology 36(5): 501.

Eyles, Don E. (1950) Quantitative studies on certain factors influencing the development of Plasmodium gallinaceium in the mosquito host. Thesis (Sc.D.) Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Eyles, Don E. and J. Lynne Robertson, Jr. (1944)  A guide and key to the aquatic plants of the Southeastern United States.  Washington, D. C.; United States Government Printing Office.

Goodwin, M. H., Jr.; Eyles, Don E. (1942) Measurements of Larval Populations of Anopheles Quadrimaculatus, Say. Ecology 23(3): 376.

Eyles, Don E. (1941) A phytosociological study of the Castalia-Myriophyllum community of Georgia coastal plain boggy Ponds. American Midland Naturalist 26(2): 421-438.

1.  Bruce-Chwatt, L. J. (1963) Dr. Don E. EylesNature 200 (4908): 733.
2.  Meader, J. Faith and Cameron Binkley (ed.)  2003.  Fort Pulaski National Monument Administrative History.  National Park Service, Department of the Interior.  Page 83.
3.  Barnes, Bart.  October 10, 1963.  “Dr. Don Eyles, PHS Scientist”  The Washington Post, Times Herald, page C9.