Royal Society award winners

Two Oxford University scientists have been recognised by the Royal Society in this year's Awards, Medals, and Lectures.

Professor Fraser Armstrong has been awarded the Davy Medal, in recognition of his pioneering protein film electrochemistry, in particular studying the metal centres in enzymes such as hydrogenases: research that could help in the development of microorganisms that could be farmed to produce hydrogen from sunlight using photosynthesis. 

Fraser Armstrong is Professor of Chemistry and a Fellow of St John's College. His interests are in biological chemistry, bioenergetics and in the mechanisms and exploitation of enzymes related to energy production. 

'I am delighted to receive the Davy Medal for 2012,' Professor Armstrong said. 'This award means a great deal to me and reflects the importance of understanding, at a detailed molecular level, the chemistry underpinning efficient, renewable energy. Reflecting on the very distinguished recipients of this medal since 1877, I realise I have a great deal to live up to.'

Professor Frances Ashcroft has been awarded the Croonian Lecture for her work on finding the missing link connecting an increase in the blood sugar level, as happens after you eat a chocolate bar, to secretion of the hormone insulin. She unravelled how genetic mutations in a particular protein cause a rare inherited condition, known as neonatal diabetes, in which patients develop diabetes soon after birth. This has enabled many people with neonatal diabetes to switch to a better form of medication.

Professor Ashcroft is a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Trinity College Oxford. She was named European laureate at the 2012 L'Oreal-Unesco awards for Women in Science and is the author of The Spark of Life, a book about electricity and the human body.