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Professor Peter J. Roberts-Thomson and Mary E. Mattar (nee Roberts-Thomson)
Notebooks and loose leaf lecture notes (Medical Studies) 1961-1971 

MSS 0174

Biographical Note | Contents Listing

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Biographical Note

Peter Roberts-ThomsonProfessor Peter John Roberts-Thomson
(MBBS, MD, (Adelaide), D Phil (Oxon), FRACP, FRCPA, FRCP)

Professor Roberts-Thomson graduated MB BS from the University of Adelaide in 1971. Following his intern year, Peter spent a year in general practice in Western Australia and Northern Territory. The next four years were spent at Oxford University pursuing research into the immune mechanisms in rheumatic and inflammatory disorders. Returning to the Flinders Medical Centre, Peter then completed his conjoint diploma in Immunology and Immunopathology. The award of a Fulbright scholarship in 1979 took him to Dallas, Texas to study Rheumatology in the Department of the doyen of American Rheumatology Professor M Ziff.

In 1980, Peter was appointed Staff Specialist in Immunology at Flinders Medical Centre and three years later, Head of Rheumatology. In 1999, he became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Immunology, Allergy & Arthritis (following Professor J Bradley's retirement) and in 2008, Peter was appointed Clinical Director of the Immunology Directorate of SA Pathology (responsible for a staff numbering over 100). In 2013, Peter retired from full-time work and was awarded Emeritus Professor Status with Flinders University. He is the author or co-author of over 220 research publications and four books. His current hobbies include bushwalking, collecting old books (particularly on early Tasmania) and being entertained by his 4 grandchildren.


Mary Elizabeth Mattar (nee Roberts-Thomson)Dr Mary Elizabeth Mattar (nee Roberts-Thomson)

Dr Mary Mattar graduated MB, BS (top distinction) from the University of Adelaide in 1968.  Following her intern year at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Mary proceeded to specialise in paediatrics at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.  She then held academic appointments in Buffalo and St Louis, USA and St Johns, Canada before commencing a full time paediatric practice in London, Ontario, Canada.  Mary retired in 2009.  Shortly after her graduation, Mary married Adel Mattar, a nuclear physician and had three sons, the youngest continuing in the family tradition of studying medicine.


The notebooks and lecture notes described below were donated to the Barr Smith Library, Rare Books and Special Collections in January 2014 by Peter Roberts-Thomson.


Contents Listing

Series 1

Peter John Roberts-Thomson
Notebooks of Medical Studies lectures (1965-1970). University of Adelaide. 19 notebooks. 24cm. Includes miscellaneous notes on metamorphic rocks, the origin of earth and the solar system.


Medicine and the Humanities (1st year subject) 1965

Notebook 1: The history of man, the Greeks and Romans, history of medicine, Hippocrates, Herophilus, Galenus and the Middle Ages. Includes handwritten notes (by Mary Mattar?) on the Periclean Age and Socrates.

Notebook 2: Medicine through the Ages, medicine as a science.


Biochemistry (2nd and 3rd year subject) 1966-1967

Notebook 1: History of biochemistry, amino acids, peptides, proteins and protein structure, denaturation, enzymes and enzyme inhibitors. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on DNA, nucleosides, nucleotides, enzymes, sugar acids.

Notebook 2: Action of alkali on sugars, reaction of acids on sugars, formation of glycosides, carbohydrate metabolism, glycogenolysis, pentose phosphate pathway, blood sugar level control, biological oxidation, citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on dextras, glycogen, mucopolysaccharides function, formation of glycerol, galactosemia, Pasteur effect and polyprotic acids. Includes copy of Dept. of Biochemistry Medicine II Lecture Course summary for first and second terms (1966).

Notebook 3: Transport and metabolism of amino acids, metabolic disorders, protein synthesis, metabolic regulation, biochemical control mechanisms, molecular action of antibiotics, bacterial mutants and lipids. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on steroids, biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids and terpenes.

Notebook 4: Lipids, lipogenesis, glyoxylate cycle, ketosis, digestion and absorption, vitamins and biochemical functions. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on blood lipids, carbohydrate metabolism, the eye in general and biochemical functions of folic acid. Includes printout of 1966 examination questions for Anatomy (Histology and Embryology), Anatomy (Gross and Neuro-anatomy), Human Physiology and Biochemistry.

Notebook 5: Bile pigments, molecular biology of muscle, viruses, cancer, leukaemia, porphyria, radiation carcinogenesis, hormonal control and enzymes in diagnosis. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on blood group substances, life span of erythrocytes, properties of porphyrias, haemoglobin and Hb abnormalities. Includes Dept. of Biochemistry, Medicine III Lecture Course summary for second term (1967).


Anatomy - Embryology (2nd or 3rd year subject) 1966-1967

Notebook 1: History of embryology, mitosis, growth, differentiation, histogenesis, co-ordination, organs of reproduction, ovarian and uterine cycles, hormones, fertilization, neurulation, implantation and gastrulation. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on embryo growth.

Notebook 2: Development of the metencephalon, mesencephalon, spinal cord, choroid plexus, diencephalon and telencephalon; organs of sense, including the eye, nose and ear; connective tissue, adipose tissue, cartilage and bone; skeleton and sternum; urogenital system, mesonephros, metanephros and genital system. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on the retina, optic nerve and cornea; aniridia and buphthalmos.

Notebook 3: Circulatory system, heart, intestinal tract, pharynx, teeth, tongue, liver and pancreas; teratology. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on twinning and human cytogenetics.


Anatomy - Neuro-anatomy (2nd or 3rd year subject) 1966-1967

Notebook 1: Nerve cells, neuron theory, spinal cord, cochlear division and myelination. Interspersed with handwritten, loose leaf notes on the Edinger-Westphal nucleus and typed notes on sense organs and the brain.

Notebook 2: Branchial arch nerves, reticular spine system, corticobulbar tract, ingoing and outgoing fibres, cerebellum, forebrain, cerebral cortex, thalamus and hypothalamus. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on the spinal cord, cross sectional views of the brain and a ‘heart valve lesion' case study.


Human Physiology (2nd & 3rd year subject) 1966-1967

Notebook 1: Homeostasis, body fluids and electrolytes, blood plasma fractionation, oedema, foetal erythropoiesis, anaemia, haemostasis, fibrinolysis, blood groups and transfusion. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on plasma proteins and blood groups.

Notebook 2: Heart muscle structure and properties, conduction system of heart, electrocardiography, cardiac cycle, heart sounds, cardiac output, Fick principle, hypotension and hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias and metabolites. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on functional anatomy of the heart and respiratory physiology. Includes typewritten notes on reproductive physiology.

Notebook 3: Digestion, saliva functions, pancreas and pancreatic juice, small and large intestine, metabolism, liver functions, adipose tissue and fat transportation, diet and nutrition principles. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on liver function tests, regulation of food intake and heat loss.

Notebook 4: Functions of nervous tissue, reflex action, receptors, effectors and the visual system. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on CO2 transport. Includes typewritten Dept. of Biochemistry Human Nutrition notes, including food components and dietary allowances, 1961.

Notebook 5: Ovary and its hormones, androgens and testis, uterus and labour, placenta and its functions, umbilical cord, foetal circulation, the breast and lactation and the thyroid.

Notebook 6: Kidneys, endocrinology, pancreas and adrenal medulla.


Medical Psychology (Year unknown)

Notebook 1: Psychological perspectives and methodology, instinctual processes, emotions, psychosomatic disorders, communication and thought processes, theory of learning and reinforcement, perception, intelligence and intelligence testing, birth and infancy, motor and speech development, sexual and moral development, maturity, middle life and old age, depression and significant losses. Interspersed with typewritten lecture summaries and reprints of articles from The Lancet and The Medical Journal of Australia. Includes copy of Medicine III (Psychology) reading list and Medicine III (Psychiatry) lecture course summary and timetable, 1967.

Miscellaneous Notes (Year unknown)

Folder 1: Medical Studies summary document by P. Roberts-Thomson; handwritten notes re metamorphic rocks and the origin of earth; processed notes re the solar system; introductory brochure on clinical years for pre-clinical students; copy of "Study at the University level" by J.A. Passmore, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy; copy of report "Socio-cultural factors in health among the Pitjantjatjara" by A. Hamilton, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Sydney, 1971.


Series 2

Mary Elizabeth Mattar (nee Roberts-Thomson)
Notebooks of Medical Studies lectures (1961-1966). University of Adelaide. 8 notebooks. 12cm.

Medicine and the Humanities (1st year subject) 1961

Notebook 1: Ice Age, Neanderthal man, Macedonians, Greeks, Romans, history of medicine, Islam, Middle Ages, Arabic medicine, western civilization, medicine and the Renaissance, French Revolution and tropical medicine. Interspersed with loose leaf notes by Peter Roberts-Thomson on the history of medicine, the history of civilisation and the circulation of blood. Also includes several of his graded papers on the rise of civilization, the Greeks, the Romans and his final humanities essay.

Anatomy (2nd or 3rd year subject) 1962-1963

Notebook 1: Characteristics of living things, skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, vascular system, senses, respiratory system, alimentary system, excretory system, endocrine glands and reproductive system. Includes loose leaf notes on the skeletal system, classification of bone and joints and the circulatory system.

Physiology (Human or Applied Physiology) 2nd, 3rd or 4th year subject. 1962-1964

Notebook 1: Cell structure, body fluid and water balance, oedema, composition and functions of blood, plasma proteins, blood groups and anaemia.

Notebook 2: Coagulation of blood, circulatory system, heart, cardiac cycle, anatomy of nerves, blood vessels.

Notebook 3: Shock and fainting, muscular exercise, cardiac failure, respiratory system and gaseous exchange, lung volumes, regulation of respiration, central nervous mechanisms, anoxia, artificial respiration, gastro intestinal tract, functions of saliva, deglutition and gastric juice composition and functions. Includes loose leaf notes on lymphatics and the effects of heart failure.

Notebook 4: Kidney anatomy, function and regulatory properties, renal disease, nervous system, myoneural junctions, reflex action, spinal shock, stroke, thalamus, hypothalamus and cerebral cortex. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on functions of cerebrum, cerebellum and medulla, as well as plantar reflex and cardiac and smooth muscle.

*Notebook 4: Gastric and intestinal phase, pancreatic juice composition and function, bile, gallstones, smooth muscle, large intestine, liver functions and nutrition.

*Two notebooks were received labelled as "Physiology" no. 4

Unknown Subject (Writing on folder cover illegible) Undated.

Notebook 1: Histological techniques, histochemistry, cartilage, bone, blood, endocrine and exocrine glands, muscle, nerves, vascular system, reproductive system, lymphatic system, macrophages, kidney and ear etc. Interspersed with loose leaf notes on lymphocytes, platelets and calcification of cartilage and bone.


Series 3

Loose leaf notes re Medical Studies lectures (1961-1970). University of Adelaide. 45cm.

**These notes where received loosely bound and may by those of either Peter Roberts-Thomson or Mary Mattar. They are organised approximately in subject order.

Biology (1st year subject)

Folder 1: Processed, typed and handwritten notes re biology, in particular plant anatomy.

Folder 2: Copy of Biology I preliminary lecture, including list of text books and information re instruments, practical classes and examinations, 1965; processed and handwritten notes on the origin of life, cell mutation, the animal kingdom and evolution.

Folder 3: Processed and handwritten notes on human biology and the plant kingdom, including plant evolution.

Chemistry (1st year subject)

Folder 1: Examination questions for Chemistry (532), Nov 1960 and Nov 1961; first term syllabus for Chemistry (512), 1965; processed and handwritten notes re chemistry and thermodynamics, including physical chemistry problems and questions.

Folder 2: Processed and handwritten notes re chemistry generally.

Applied Physiology and Pharmacology (4th year subject)

Folder 1: Medicine IV lecture course information for terms I and III; processed and handwritten lecture notes re drugs in clinical medicine, including antibiotics, analgesics and steroids.

Folder 2: Pamphlets re Beta Blockers, poisoning by Organo-Phosphorus compounds and death certification; reprints of reports on attempted suicide; confidential memo re tetracycline therapy, July 1971; processed and handwritten lecture notes re drugs in clinical medicine.

Pathology (4th year subject)

Folder 1: Confidential document "Management of Venereal Disease in the Male" by J.H. Kneebone to all Junior Resident Medical Officers, 25 Jan 1971; various issues of Path Lab News dating from Apr 1969 to Aug 1971 on venereal diseases, hospital infection, tetanus, fever and food poisoning; journal articles and typed and handwritten lecture notes on infectious diseases.

Folder 2: Various loose leaf handwritten notes re infectious disease, toxins, specimen examination, viruses and bacteriological diagnosis.

Obstetrics Gynaecology (5th year subject)

Folder 1: Medicine III suggested list of medical tutorials, 25 Jul 1969; list of lecture/demonstrations in clinical psychiatry, 10 Apr 1969; Medicine V (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) seminar timetable, 2 Jan 1969; list of students appointed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital, 17 Mar 1969; processed and handwritten notes; case studies.

Folder 2: Obstetrics and Gynaecology (M075) final examination questions, Nov 1968 and tutorial programme, 1969; Royal Adelaide Hospital clinical gynaecology roster, 1969; processed and handwritten notes on anaesthesia and analgesia and obstetrics generally.

Folder 3: Example pre-operative assessment, inpatient case study, processed and handwritten lecture notes on the reproductive tract, the ovary, infertility, etc.

Paediatrics (5th year subject)

Folder 1: Paediatrics (MC75) examination questions part I, Nov 1968; tutorial programme April-July 1968[?]; processed and handwritten notes re paediatrics generally; newspaper and journal articles; brochures and case studies.

Folder 2: Processed and handwritten lecture notes on the alimentary system, central nervous system and endocrine system, as well as notes re accidental poisoning, intellectual retardation and congenital heart disease. Includes journal articles on Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome and Phenylketonuria.

Folder 3: Processed and handwritten lecture notes on upper and lower respiratory tract disease, pediatric tuberculosis, speech disorders, cerebral palsy, rheumatoid arthritis and congenital defects of the kidneys. Includes journal articles re infantile autism and developmental dyslexia.


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