I was walking around Aberystwyth University’s main campus the other day when I decided to grab a cup of coffee at IBERBach in the impressive IBERS building.

I’m so glad I did, because the entrance to the building - which is no longer the IBERS building (more of that later) - is like a little museum with lots of interesting artefacts.

My attention was caught by a display on the life of a woman I’m sad to say I have not come across before - Professor Florence Gwendolen Rees (1906–1994).

According to the display in the foyer of the building now named after her, Professor Rees was a Zoologist, a pioneer of parasitology and the first woman in Wales to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).

An inspirational lecturer at Aberystwyth for more than 40 years, Professor Rees was a leading researcher whose work focused on liver fluke – a zoonotic disease of ruminants (primarily sheep) and humans caused by a parasitic worm.

A founder member of the British society for Parasitology, Professor Rees was both their Vice-President and President (1972 to 1976). She was elected Fellow of the Institute of Biology in 1971, awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the American Society of Parasitologists in 1976 and honoured with the prestigious Linnean medal in 1990. She also appeared in Vogue magazine in 1975 as part of a feature on influential women.

Formally retiring in 1973, Professor Reese continued as Professor Emerita and published her final paper in 1988 aged 81.

Thanks to the pioneering work of Professor Rees, parasitology remains a core research strength of Aberystwyth University.

It is no wonder then that last year, on International Women’s Day, Aberystwyth University announced it would rename one of its flagship academic buildings in honour of Professor Rees.

Her name appears on the former IBERS building on campus, now home to the Department of Life Sciences.

During her career and after retirement, Professor Rees published a total of 68 academic papers – the final one published in her 82nd year when she was Emeritus Professor of Zoology.

Professor Rees’s name was chosen following a vote by staff in the Department of Life Sciences, and approved by the University’s Executive and Council.

To feature in First Person or to nominate someone who should, email Julie McNicholls Vale ([email protected])