AN OXFORD medical don who achieved global recognition for his work on heart conditions while completely redesigning Hertford College has died aged 98.

Miles Vaughan Williams, the first full science fellow at the Catte Street college, established an index that prescribed which drugs to administer according to the symptoms of different heart conditions.

The Vaughan Williams index of anti-arrhythmic drugs – established in 1970 – is still used today in schools of pharmacology.

He was also one of the first in the world to work on beta-blockers which have saved countless lives since.

Close friend and colleague Keith McLauchlan, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry alongside Mr Vaughan Williams, said "Hertford College, and science and medicine owe him a great debt," following his death on August 31.

When he arrived at the college in 1955 he decided to improve it, designing and overseeing the development of Old Building 1, Old Building 2, which did not have hot water or toilets previously, and the Old Library.

His piece-de-resistance was his design for the Holywell Quadrangle for which a professional architect won a prize by following.

Miles Vaughan Williams was born in Bangalore, India in August 1918, the second of four sons.

His father, a first cousin of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, was an engineer in charge of all the steam engines of the Madras and Southern Maharata Railways and his mother travelled regularly to England with her children before Miles was sent to prep school at Crowthorne Towers in Berkshire at the age of six.

He would not return to India until many years later while on sabbatical leave from Hertford College.

His secondary education took him to Wellington School in Somerset before he earned a place at Wadham College, Oxford to read Greats (Latin, Greek, ancient history and philosophy).

In 1939 all 20-year-olds were called up to help the war effort but this was postponed to the end of their course for students already in residence.

A strong pacifist, he felt that he and his similarly inclined friends should still contribute to the country's needs so he established a group of Oxford and Cambridge students whom he persuaded to learn first aid before joining the British Volunteer Ambulance Service based in Northumberland, as a driver.

His wartime experiences led to a decision to pursue a career in medicine and he returned to continue his studies, albeit in a different field, at Wadham, before going into pharmacology

While on holiday in France in 1954 he met his future wife Marie de Lagarde and they married in 1956 before going on to have two daughters and a son.

An accidental meeting in Oxford with an old friend saw Mr Vaughan Williams invited to Hertford College where he was later made a fellow.