Royal Society recognition for University academics

Six Oxford researchers have been awarded prestigious fellowships in recognition of their groundbreaking work

The entrance to the Royal Society. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Professor Tony Bell, Professor Yvonne Jones, Professor Alison Noble, Professor Yadvinder Malhi, Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Hugh Watkins have become fellows at the Royal Society, following in the footsteps of the likes of Stephen Hawking and Isaac Newton.

Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said: “The new Fellows of the Royal Society have already contributed much to science and it gives me great pleasure to welcome them into our ranks.”

Professor Tony Bell from the Department of Physics has undertaken pioneering work into astrophysical and laser-produced plasmas. He told Cherwell: “This recognition of my research gives me a warm sense of satisfaction. It’s more than I expected when I started out 40 years ago.”

Professor Yvonne Jones leads the Cancer Research UK Receptor Structure Research Group, which focuses on the structural biology of extracellular recognition and signalling complexes.

She is also Deputy Director at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics.

She said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be elected FRS.

“Since starting my laboratory in Oxford in 1991 I have been very fortunate to work with some wonderful graduate students, postdocs and colleagues. I am very glad that we have been able to add to the long history of Oxford structural biologists advancing biomedical research.”

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College and Professorial Research Fellow in Computer Science, made significant contributions to Artificial Intelligence and is an international leader in the field of open data.

He told Cherwell: “It is a fantastic privilege to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. As a young student, I never dreamt of such a possibility. I have been fortunate, I have worked with great colleagues and have seen the areas of AI and computer science that I research grow dramatically.”

Professor Hugh Watkins is the Head of the Radcliffe Department of Medicine and Honorary Consultant in Cardiology and General Medicine, and has has a major impact in medicine using molecular genetic analysis of cardiovascular disease to identify disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets.

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Warkins said: “I am excited and honoured to have been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society. Not many clinical academics achieve this and for me it has been possible because I am fortunate to work with many exceptional colleagues. Our work really has improved the way we look after patients with inherited heart disease, and that is a privilege.”

The two other professors awarded the fellowship are Professor Alison Noble and Professor Yadvinder Malhi. Professor Noble is the Technikos Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Oxford University, and is raising the profile of ultrasound imaging in biomedical image analysis. Professor Malhi, based in the School of Geography and the Environment, is a leader in promoting the conservation of forests through research collaboration and capacity building in tropical countries.

Both were contacted for comment.