April 5, 1940 – January 1, 2019
It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of Dr Jim McNab, who died suddenly on January 1st. He was born in Comrie, Perthshire to Mary and Donald, in April 1940, and was much loved by his parents and his sister Mary.
Jim excelled in school, at Morrison’s Academy in Crieff. Outside studies he played for the school’s 1st rugby team and enjoyed playing the clarinet. He was also an ‘extra’ in the 1953 film ‘Johnny on the Run’.
From 1958 to 1965, Jim attended the University of Edinburgh with great enthusiasm and enjoyment. According to his good friend Dennis, academic issues were never a problem. After graduating with an Honours Degree in Chemistry he moved on to do his PhD in 1962, adopting three ‘Objectives’, the same ones most Graduate students pursued in the 1960s, namely a PhD in three years, a post-doctoral appointment in North America and finding the love of one’s life. He achieved the last of these when he met Carol during the first month of his PhD. He duly graduated in 1965 and set out for Boulder, Colorado, returning briefly for his marriage with Carol in October 1966. After a year in Colorado, they returned home and Jim spent a year back at Edinburgh University before he joined the Nutrition Department at the Poultry Research Centre (PRC) in Edinburgh in October 1968. His research covered many aspects of poultry nutrition, including the digestion of carbohydrate and protein and developing methods for feedstuffs evaluation. He studied feed quality enhancement and assessments of non-traditional feeds.
In 1993, Jim became the head of the large Department of Nutritional and Environmental Studies at Roslin Institute, the successor to PRC. The work of his department included behaviour, welfare and other environmental topics, as well as nutrition. He gave good leadership to this widely-based department and battled hard at senior staff meetings at the Institute where the essentially applied nature of his department’s work was regarded somewhat less favourably than some of the seemingly more exotic sciences carried out in others.
Owing to increasing pressure on government research funding, the idea of expanding commercial income from aspects of Jim’s research was proposed, including his methods for feedstuff evaluation assays. In 1997, Roslin Nutrition, a spin-out company from Roslin Institute, was born. Jim and Doug Currie were charged with managing the company, which in 2002 became a completely independent research company, which is still thriving today.
Jim was a well-known and popular figure in the poultry nutrition world and a regular speaker at industry and scientific conferences. His other activities at work included responsibility for many national and some international projects, supervising numerous PhD students, co-editing British Poultry Science for 10 years and, for a shorter period, editing World’s Poultry Science Journal. He was very active in the UK branch, organising symposia and conferences. Jim retired from the Roslin Institute in 2001 and from Roslin Nutrition in 2005.
Outside work, Jim enjoyed playing rugby, squash and bridge. He was a keen vegetable gardener and latterly an enthusiastic cook. He was a proud and loving father to his two sons, Donald and Scott and he adored his four grandchildren
When his wife Carol was asked for her thoughts she said: Jim is remembered as having a great sense of humour: being reliable, generous, loving; positive, honest and forthright; a good man, a great dad; an intellectual, wise, clever man; a kind patient and a wonderful person.
On a personal note, Jim was a mentor during my PhD, training me in various ME measurements and becoming a good friend, as well as being a previous editor of WPSJ. He is survived by his wife Carol and his children and grandchildren. I would like to thank Carol for her great help with preparing his obituary. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.
Dr Lucy Waldron