Professor Andy Waters, Professor Gerry Graham and Professor Hugh Willison are all named today as new Fellows of the Academy for their exceptional contributions to science, through their world-leading research and wider engagements with communities both here and around the world.
Professor Waters is a malaria expert and Professor in Biomedical and Lifesciences, Professor Graham is an expert in chemokines and Professor of Molecular and Structural Immunology, while Professor Hugh Willison is an expert in Guillain-Barré syndrome and Professor of Neurology.
The three are among 50 new Fellows announced today by the Academy of Medical Sciences, all hailed for their world-leading research discoveries, running national science communication and engagement programmes and translating scientific advances into benefits for patients and the public.
The value of medical science has never been more apparent than during the current coronavirus global health crisis. From testing and vaccine development, to public health and behavioural science, to addressing the impacts of lockdown measures on mental health, biomedical and health scientists are helping to guide the UK through unprecedented challenges.
Many of the Academy’s newly elected Fellows are at the forefront of the efforts to tackle coronavirus, including Professor Andy Waters who has loaned materials and infrastructure locally and is working with international partners in Malawi to help with preparedness - demonstrating the collaborative and ’team science’ nature that the Academy’s Fellowship strives to embody.
Professor Waters said: "It is such an honour and pleasure to have been elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Science. The Academy plays an important (inter)national role in promoting and advising on scientific matters and their place in society. This has come into sharp focus with the pandemic and I look forward to contributing to the Academy’s ongoing role in society."
Professor Graham and his team have a long-standing interest in chemokines and their receptors and have been working in this field for more than 18 years. Currently, they have a number of projects that relate to various aspects of chemokine and chemokine receptor function
Professor Graham said: "I am delighted to be elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. This is a great honour and I look forward to working with the Academy and representing the University’s interests at every opportunity."
Professor Hugh Willison leads the Neuroimmunology Research Group, which focuses in particular on the role of anti-ganglioside antibodies in the post-infectious paralytic neuropathy, Guillain Barré syndrome.
Professor Willison said: "It is a wonderful honour to be recognised for working on a rare disease that is both unpronounceable and unspellable. Every vaccine insert printed carries the Guillain-Barré syndrome warning and it actively plays its small but important part in the current SARS Cov-2 epidemic, as it did with Zika and influenza. Yet we still know little about it and are constantly refining diagnostic tests and developing therapies. Imbuing the Academy with diverse expertise and perspectives on medical sciences can only add to its strength, and to which I’m pleased to contribute my fullest efforts."
Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said: "I am delighted to welcome these 50 new Fellows into the Academy’s Fellowship. Each one has made their own outstanding contribution to biomedical science, and together they are advancing the health of our society in the UK and internationally. Their work affects us all, from the way we keep healthy through our lifestyle, to how we are treated if we become ill, to the way we receive information about health.
"This year our new Fellows announcement happens amidst a global health crisis. Some will face the challenge of how to continue to lead on some of the most pressing health challenges our society faces beyond coronavirus, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Others have joined the global research effort to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, whether that be through working out how to treat those with the virus, joining efforts to develop a vaccine, or looking to limit the impact of the pandemic more broadly on our physical and mental health.
"Never has there been a more important time to recognise and celebrate the people behind ground-breaking biomedical and health research, working harder than ever to further knowledge and protect patients and the public.
"It brings me great pleasure to congratulate the new Fellows, and see our Fellowship grow to even greater heights of evidence-based advice, leadership and expertise."
- Professor Andy Waters
- Professor Gerry Graham
- Professor Hugh Willison
- Academy of Medical Sciences