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Solly Marks was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1926. He obtained his BSc and MB from the University of Cape Town, in 1946 and 1949, respectively.
He served his Registrarship in gastroenterology at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, from 1953 to 1956. He was a Research Fellow and Instructor in Gastroenterology at the Fels Research Institute and Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, USA, from 1956 to 1959.
On his return to South Africa in 1959, Professor Marks established the Gastroenterology Clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital. He was Head of Clinic from 1959 to 1970, and again from 1978 to 1992.
He was awarded an ad hominem Associate Professorship in 1983, and was appointed to the newly created post of Professor of Gastroenterology in 1986.
In 1990, Professor Marks was elected a Fellow of the University of Cape Town. The Department of National Health and Welfare also awarded him the Salus Gold Medal in 1993, for his contributions to medicine. Solly Marks has been an Emeritus Professor of Gastroenterology since 1995.
Professor Marks has enjoyed a close relationship with SAGES – the South African Gastroenterology Society. He was a founder member of the society in 1962, and was President from 1962 to 1977. Since then, he has been a Life-President of SAGES.
His extensive research experience and collaborative skills are reflected in the over 400 publications. These deal mainly with basic, clinical, and therapeutic aspects of peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, and small and large bowel disease. They include about 50 invited chapters in various textbooks of gastroenterology.
Professor Marks has helped pioneer the concept of parietal cell mass and its relationship to acid secretion in the mid-1950s. For the next 40 years, he participated in innumerable clinical and therapeutic studies in patients with acid-related diseases. He also stressed the importance of an etiologic approach to the classification, diagnosis, and treatment of pancreatitis. Furthermore, he documented the natural history of alcohol-induced pancreatitis in the Western Cape.
Professor Marks is on the Editorial Boards of a number of journals, and is an honorary member of many gastroenterological societies. He has also given a large number of named and other invited lectures - both locally and abroad.