Pioneer Sir Bob (Robert) Elliott passed away this morning surrounded by his family at his home in Auckland.
Emeritus Professor of Auckland University Sir Bob was this year knighted for services to medical research and he was a firm believer that imagination was the key to a successful career.
Sir Bob dedicated over 60 years of his life making discoveries – such as his early research work around the potential health benefits of the A2 protein type – and combined that with his dedication to improving the quality of life of children through the Child Health Research Foundation, now known as CureKids, the largest funder of child health research in New Zealand, outside of the New Zealand government.
Looking back on his career, it was CureKids which Sir Bob said pleased him most, as it would continue to fund top-grade research for children’s health long after he was “pushing up daisies”.
He said his career might not have been possible without his older sister who taught him the importance of using imagination, which he thought was “extremely important”.
Sir Bob once said: “You have to imagine how a problem could be resolved and let your imagination go wild. People need to think as widely as they can and not be restricted by can’t attitudes. If you’ve got a good imagination, you’ll come up with solutions for all sorts of things.”
His foundational research into the A2 beta casein protein type and the potential benefits for human health led to a collaboration with chemist Dr Corrie McLachlan to understand the differences between the A2 and A1 protein.
That pioneering research conducted by Sir Bob and McLachlan was the foundation of The a2 Milk Company, which is now an international milk and nutrition business.
Everyone at The a2 Milk Company sends their thoughts to Sir Bob’s family at this difficult time.