The Academy of Medical Sciences has elected 11 University of Oxford biomedical and health scientists to its fellowship.
All were selected for their exceptional contributions to the advancement of medical science through innovative research discoveries and translating scientific developments into benefits for patients and the wider society:
- For his pioneering work in the pathophysiology and treatment of severe malaria, antimalarial drug resistance and improvement of intensive care practice in resource-limited settings, Professor Arjen Dondorp of the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health (Nuffield Department of Medicine) becomes a Fellow. He led large multinational trials in Asia and Africa that demonstrated parenteral artesunate is superior to quinine in preventing death from severe malaria in both adults and children. He also organised the pivotal trials showing that artemisinin resistance in falciparum malaria had emerged on the Cambodian-Thai border, starting an extensive research programme on multidrug resistant malaria, an important threat to malaria control.
- Professor Sarah Gilbert of the Jenner Institute (Nuffield Department of Medicine) becomes a Fellow for her leading role in the development and design of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, alongside pioneering work to develop vaccines for other life-threatening diseases with pandemic potential including influenza, Nipah, Lassa and MERS. She oversaw the development of the ChAdOx1 viral vector that provided the platform technology for such a rapid vaccine development effort.
- For his tireless clinical and epidemiological research on a wide range of emerging and epidemic infections spanning over 15 years, Professor Peter Horby of the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health (Nuffield Department of Medicine) is named a Fellow at the Academy. He is co-lead of the RECOVERY trial – the world's largest trial of COVID-19 treatments – as well as director of Epidemic Diseases Research Group Oxford (ERGO) and International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC), which are both engaged in several international programmes of clinical and epidemiological research to prepare for and respond to emerging infections that may develop into epidemics or pandemics.
- Professor David Hunter of the Nuffield Department of Population Health is elected as a Fellow for his leading role in HIV and later cancer research. A highly cited scientist, he has been involved in collaborative studies of nutrition and HIV pathogenesis, studied diet and cancer etiology in large scale prospective studies, and developed a sample handling and genotyping laboratory to explore genetic associations with cancer, and gene-environment interactions.
- For her ongoing stewardship of research that focuses on how the brain changes with learning, experience, and damage, Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences is elected a Fellow at the Academy. Her team aims to shed light on how the healthy brain responds to change with implications for understanding and treating disease, including testing new methods for rehabilitation after a stroke.
- Professor Marian Knight of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (Nuffield Department of Population Health) becomes a Fellow for her research that addresses clinical questions concerning rare and severe complications of pregnancy and early life through national observational studies. Her work has enabled the team leading the aforementioned RECOVERY trial to collect information on pregnant women taking part through the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS).
- Due to his outstanding work in furthering understanding of the determinants of common diseases through the design, conduct and analysis of efficient, large-scale clinical trials and prospective cohort studies, Professor Martin Landray of the Nuffield Department of Population Health is elected to the Academy as a Fellow. Also a chief investigator of the aforementioned RECOVERY trial, he has led a series of major clinical trials assessing treatments for cardiovascular and kidney disease, producing results that have changed regulatory drug approvals, influenced clinical guidelines and changed prescribing practice to the benefit of patients.
- Professor Rose McGready of the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health (Nuffield Department of Medicine) is named a Fellow for her leadership of the maternal malaria research sphere. During her tenure at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit on the Thailand-Myanmar border, she has provided detailed knowledge of the burden and effects of malaria infections on pregnant women and new-borns, leading the world in the safe use of artemisinin derivatives in pregnancy. Focussing on maternal and child health, her research work has been translated into clinical practice and resulted in dramatic improvements in the health of marginalized women in South East Asia and beyond.
- For his co-leadership of ground-breaking research into Covid-19 immune response, Professor Graham Ogg of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine (within the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine) is honoured as a Fellow. As well as demonstrating that individuals with mild COVID-19 had a different pattern of T cell response when compared to those with more severe infection, he also continues to lead research into the role of human cutaneous immune responses in mechanisms of disease, treatment and vaccination.
- Professor Katja Simon of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology (Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences) is recognised for research into cell fate in the hematopoietic system by being made a Fellow at the Academy. As a principal investigator, she set up an independent line of enquiry investigating autophagy, another cellular process determining cell fate, in the hemato-immune system.
- For furthering understanding of neurobiology, Professor Scott Waddell of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics becomes a Fellow. His group has used Drosophila to study neural circuit mechanisms of memory-directed and motivated behaviour since 2001 – their research has demonstrated a previously unforeseen heterogeneity of anatomy and function within the dopaminergic system and exemplifies how acutely altering the function of smaller subsets of neurons can serve as an effective way of learning how neural circuits operate.
Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: ‘The last year has clearly demonstrated the power and prowess of UK biomedical science, and I am proud of how many Fellows, new and old, have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response in the UK and globally.
‘Although it is hard to look beyond the pandemic right now, I want to stress how important it is that the Academy Fellowship represents the widest diversity of biomedical and health sciences. The greatest health advances rely on the findings of many types of research, and on multidisciplinary teams and cross-sector and global collaboration.’