Published on 24/11/2023
Professor Mike Brown
  • Professor Mike Brown built a premier UK pharmacy school at Aston University during the 1970s and 1980s
  • The department was rated outstanding in the 1986 Research Assessment Exercise
  • He also helped to create the University’s Martin Luther King multifaith centre.

Aston Pharmacy School is sad to announce that Professor Mike Brown passed away on 10 November aged 92. 

During the 1970s and 1980s, as head of department, he built pharmaceutical sciences at Aston University into a premier UK pharmacy school during a critical period of growth for the new University. The department was rated "outstanding" in the 1986 University Research Assessment Exercise. 

He appointed a young international faculty and, for those who worked with him, he created a uniquely vibrant academic environment which excelled in both research and teaching. 

A microbiologist, he published over 200 papers and mentored many doctoral students before retiring in 1997 to pursue his scientific interests in other UK universities and at Stanford University in California, working with the Nobel Prize-winning Arthur Kornberg. 

Serving also as a dean and as a pro-vice-chancellor at Aston University, it was typical of his profound humanity and ecumenical interests that he helped to create the University’s Martin Luther King Centre to cater for all faiths, and none, in the pursuit of justice and peace through reasoned dialogue. 

His humanism led him to publicly express serious concerns about the direction of university management in the 1980s, concerns which were overwhelmingly endorsed at a tense meeting of all academic staff with the then vice-chancellor.

His conviviality and social engagement were shared with his wife Margaret, who survives him. At their Moseley home they regularly hosted a lively community of younger colleagues exchanging views on science, life and politics. 

Mike wrote poetry and read widely in philosophy, culminating in the 2018 publication of his book Human Survival?, a reflection on the human condition. 

Even though many of his faculty colleagues are now retired and some, scattered around the world, may have not seen Mike in many years, they feel that he is still an important part of their lives.

Notes to editors

About Aston University

For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming the Guardian University of the Year in 2020.

Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Helen Tunnicliffe, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7827 090240 or email:

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Sue Smith,
Head of Press and Communications


Sam Cook,
Press and Communications Manager


Nicola Jones,
Press and Communications Manager


Helen Tunnicliffe,
Press and Communications Manager


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