Robert W. Dodgson, medical researcher, studied at St Mary's Hospital in London and qualified as a medical practitioner in 1895. He obtained the degree Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 1899. That same year he came to South Africa to evaluate the results of typhoid inoculation of British troops during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). From 1901 to 1903 he directed a government research laboratory in Cape Town. Late in 1902 he was appointed as bacteriologist to the government of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), but he fell ill and the planned bacteriological institute was not built. By March 1904 he was almost ready to sail from England to take up the position in Rhodesia, but his appointment was cancelled.
During 1911-1912 Dodgson returned to South Africa to assist Sir A.E. Wright* with pneumonia research on the Witwatersrand, during the time that the South African Institute for Medical Research was being established. This work was reported on in two papers published in The Lancet: 'On the pharmaco-therapy of pneumococcus infections' (1912, by Wright, W.P. Morgan and Dodgson) and 'On prophylactic inoculation against pneumococcus infections and on the results which have been achieved by it' (1914, by Wright, W.P. Morgan, L. Colebrook and Dodgson).
Later Dodgson was associated with the British Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and became an expert on the transmission of typhoid by shellfish. His major publication on this topic was his Report on mussel purification; being an account of the establishment of a system of purification of polluted mussels; of the experimental work upon which it is based; and of certain general considerations and suggestions regarding the sewage pollution of shellfish in its public health aspect (London, 1928, 498p).