Research Prizes 2013
Scientific Advisory Committee
Professor Jon Cohen
Jon Cohen trained in medicine at Charing Cross Hospital Medical School (now part of Imperial College) and graduated in 1974. After junior training posts he decided to specialise in Infectious Diseases, at that time an almost extinct speciality in the UK. He was awarded a Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Infectious Diseases and used it first to obtain a formal training in microbiology at the London School of Hygiene, and then to go to the US to get a clinical and research training in the field. He returned to the UK and established a new academic unit at Hammersmith Hospital; over time this became the largest academic department of infectious diseases & microbiology in the country. His own research was focused on sepsis and explored both microbial and host factors in pathogenesis. As well as a basic science programme around humoral mediators of sepsis and the pathogenic role of superantigens, he was closely involved with clinical trials in the field; his group were the first to give anti-TNF monoclonal antibody to a patient, and were also involved in designing and leading a series of major international phase III trials of novel mediators in sepsis. In 2003 he accepted the post of Foundation Dean of Brighton & Sussex Medical School which took in its first students a year later. The school has become one of the most sought after in the country.
Professor Annette Dolphin
Professor Annette C. Dolphin received her BA in Natural Sciences (Biochemistry) from the University of Oxford, and her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry in London on animal models of Parkinson’s disease. She then held postdoctoral fellowships at the College de France in Paris, and at Yale University, working on G-protein coupled receptor–mediated signalling. She returned to UK to work at National Institute of Medical Research on long term potentiation and presynaptic modulation of transmitter release. She then established her own group working on neuronal calcium channel modulation by G-protein coupled receptors, first at St. George’s Hospital Medical School and then at Royal Free Hospital Medical School in London, where she was appointed to a Chair in 1990. Currently she is Professor of Pharmacology in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at University College London. She was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999. Her research interests are in the field of neuronal voltage-dependent calcium channels, particularly their modulation by neurotransmitters, G proteins, the role of accessory subunits and the importance of voltage gated calcium channels as drug targets, as well as their role in a number of diseases including neuropathic pain.
Professor Nick Lemoine
Professor Lemoine trained at the Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and won the University Gold Medal in 1983. He specialised in cancer medicine and pathology in Cardiff and London. He is now Director of the Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University of London, as well as the Head of Research & Implementation for the new Integrated Cancer System for Central & East London. For the last twenty years he has directed a research programme into the genes and molecules that cause pancreatic cancer, and his current work focuses on new approaches for early diagnosis and the development of a gene therapy for this disease.
Professor Kate Storey
Kate Storey is Head of the Division of Cell & Developmental Biology and Chair of Neural Development at the University of Dundee. She investigates cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating vertebrate neural differentiation in embryos and embryonic stem cells. She is well known for development of novel imaging approaches for monitoring cell behaviour and cell signalling in living tissues and for the discovery of a signalling switch that controls differentiation onset. Her most recent work addresses how key differentiation signals direct changes in chromatin organisation. She also provides leadership in Science Communication at the University of Dundee and has undertaken a number of Sci-Art collaborations. These include the exhibition "Primitive Streak" developed with her sister, artist/designer Helen Storey, which chronicles key events in early embryonic development through the medium of fashion design.
Professor Janet Darbyshire
After training in respiratory medicine Professor Darbyshire joined the UK Medical Research Council Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases Unit to co-ordinate a programme of clinical trials and observational epidemiological studies in East Africa and the UK which led to the short course chemotherapy regimens which are now the basis of tuberculosis treatment worldwide. She subsequently moved into HIV research at the time when the first antiretroviral drugs were becoming available and led the MRC HIV Clinical Trials Centre developing a programme of clinical trials and observational studies in the UK and in collaboration with research groups across Europe, Australia and North and South America and subsequently in Africa.
In 1998 she became the Director of the newly established MRC Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) which incorporated the HIV programme and the MRC Cancer Trials Office. The remit of the (CTU) also extended into other disease areas where there was no strong tradition of clinical trials such as arthritis and blood transfusion. She retired as Director of the CTU in March 2010.
In 2005 with Professor Peter Selby she became Joint Director of the UKCRN Clinical Research Network co-ordinated jointly between the MRC CTU and the University of Leeds. The UKCRN (which became the NIHR CRN) was set up to support both commercial and non-commercial research in the UK by providing clinical infrastructure in the NHS. The aim was to increase the quality and quantity of clinical research with the overall goal of improving both the health and wealth of the UK.
She has been involved in drug regulation for many years, initially on the Committee on Safety of Medicines and then on the Commission on Human Medicines which replaced it. She has served on many research and funding committees and advisory boards and on WHO and other Expert committees as well as numerous trial oversight, data monitoring and scientific advisory committees.
Although never living in Africa, Professor Darbyshire has spent much time there involved in collaborative research in resource poor countries to improve the treatment initially of tuberculosis and subsequently of HIV infection although the two are inextricably linked.
Professor Kay Davies
Professor Davies is Dr Lee's Professor of Anatomy and Associate Head, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford, and Honorary Director of the MRC Functional Genomics Unit. Her research interests cover the molecular analysis of neuromuscular and neurological disease, particularly Duchenne muscular dystrophy. She has an active interest in the ethical implications of genetics research and the public understanding of science. She has considerable experience of biotechnology companies as a conduit for translating the results of experimental science into new therapeutics and diagnostics. She is a founding editor of the journal 'Human Molecular Genetics' and a founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Professor Douglas Higgs
Douglas R Higgs qualified in Medicine at King’s College Hospital Medical School (University of London) in 1974 and trained as a haematologist (FRCP, FRCPATH). He joined the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit (University of Oxford) in 1977 and was awarded a DSc (Medicine) in 1990. He was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2001, a member of EMBO in 2006 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2005. He is currently Professor of Molecular Haematology at the University of Oxford, Director of the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit (MHU) and co-Director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM). The main interest of his own laboratory is to understand how mammalian genes are switched on and off during differentiation and development using haematopoiesis as the experimental model. His laboratory investigates a comprehensive set of transcriptional, co-transcriptional and epigenetic influences on gene expression including the role of nuclear position, chromosome conformation, the timing of replication, chromatin and DNA modification, and the potential role of non-coding RNAs. Initial studies using the well characterized globin loci are used to initiate genome-wide studies to establish the general principles underlying mammalian gene regulation. An important aim of this work, supported by strong clinical programmes, is to improve the management of patients with common blood diseases ranging from inherited forms of anaemia (including thalassaemia) to leukaemia.
Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys
The Governing Body is pleased to announce that Professor Sir Alec
Jeffreys has been made a lifetime member. This is
to reflect the huge contribution that he has made to the Institute over
the last 30 years.
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