Former Fellows, Professor Judith Armitage, University of Oxford and Dr Phillip Hawkins, The Babraham Institute, have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society in 2013.
Professor Judith Armitage has been recognised for her pioneering contributions to the study of bacteria chemotaxis and motility. Judy obtained her first and second degrees in Microbiology from UCL, where she became one of the first Lister Fellows in 1982 and started her independent research on bacterial motility. She moved to Oxford in 1985 as a lecturer, becoming a Professor in 1996 and in 2006 she was part of the team who obtained funding for the Oxford Centre for Integrative Systems Biology which she now directs. Her research relies heavily on an interdisciplinary approach, combining molecular genetics with single molecule imaging, biophysics and mathematical modelling. Her interdisciplinary team and collaborators have shown that the bacterial flagellar motor, seen as a stable nanomachine, is in fact labile, with protein components exchanging with pools as the motor rotates at over 100 rev per sec., a finding with implications for the general understanding of large protein complexes. Her group has also shown that some multiprotein complexes “piggy-back” on segregating bacterial chromosomes to ensure faithfully segregation into daughter cells, a mechanism now thought to be used across the bacterial kingdom.
Dr Phillip Hawkins runs a laboratory jointly with Len Stephens at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, where the two have worked on the mechanism and function of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signalling pathways for over 20 years.
PI3K signaling pathways allow cell surface receptors to regulate a variety of important cellular functions, such as cell growth, movement and survival and are dysregulated in several pathologies, including human cancers.