The new Fellows have been elected to the Academy in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the advancement of biomedical and health science, cutting-edge research discoveries and translating developments into benefits for patients and wider society.
They join a prestigious Fellowship of 1,400 esteemed researchers who are central to the Academy’s work. This includes providing career support to the next generation of researchers and contributing to the Academy’s influential policy work to improve health in the UK and globally.
Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: “These new Fellows are pioneering biomedical research and driving life-saving improvements in healthcare. It’s a pleasure to recognise and celebrate their exceptional talent by welcoming them to the Fellowship.
“This year, we are celebrating our 25th anniversary. The Fellowship is our greatest asset, and their broad expertise and dynamic ability has shaped the Academy to become the influential, expert voice of health. As we look to the future, the collective wisdom our new Fellows bring will be pivotal in achieving our mission to create an open and progressive research sector to improve the health of people everywhere.”
The new Cambridge Fellows are:
Professor Charlotte Coles FMedSci
Professor of Breast Cancer Clinical Oncology, Department of Oncology, NIHR Research Professor and Director of Cancer Research UK RadNet Cambridge
Professor Coles leads practice-changing breast radiotherapy trials, has influenced international hypofractionation policy and is addressing global health, gender and equity challenges within the Lancet Breast Cancer Commission.
“It’s an honour to be elected as a new Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. This is a result of research collaborations in Cambridge, the UK and internationally and I’d like to thank these wonderful colleagues, especially patient advocates,” said Coles.
“I hope to contribute to the Academy’s work to increase equity, diversity and inclusion within leadership roles, including lower- and middle-income countries, to enrich research and improve the culture in Medical Sciences.”
Professor Emanuele Di Angelantonio FMedSci
Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Donor Health, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, and Head of Health Data Science Centre, Human Technopole (Milan)
Professor Di Angelantonio’s research has focused on addressing major clinical and public health priorities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and transfusion medicine. His election recognises his many contributions both in helping resolve important controversies in CVD prevention strategies and in improving the safety and efficiency of blood donation.
“I am delighted and honoured to be elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences, which I recognise is an outcome of the collaborations with many colleagues in UK and worldwide,” said Di Angelantonio.
“Research excellence across medical sciences and translation to health improvements has been at the centre of the Academy’s mission and I am very pleased to now be able to contribute to fulfilling this aim as a Fellow.”
Dr Rita Horvath FMedSci
Director of Research in Genetics of Rare Neurological Disorders in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Honorary Consultant in Neurology
Dr Horvath is an academic neurologist using genomics and biochemistry to diagnose rare, inherited neurological disorders, with a focus on mitochondrial diseases. Throughout her career she has combined fundamental experimental work with clinical studies. She pioneered the development and implementation of next generation sequencing in the diagnosis of rare neurogenetic diseases in the UK, leading to precision genetic approaches. She has established extensive international collaborations, having impact in Europe, but also for underserved groups in countries where such expertise is lacking.
“I am delighted and honoured to be elected to this Fellowship, which recognises the impact of my work. I would not have achieved it without the support of my excellent colleagues and research team, for which I give my sincere thanks,” said Horvath.
“As a Hungarian woman working in different countries before I arrived in the UK in 2007, I feel particularly proud of this award, which I recognise is an outcome of the open and fair research environment in Cambridge. This Fellowship enables me to further expand my research to develop effective treatments for patients with rare inherited neurological diseases.”
Professor Eric Miska FMedSci
Herchel Smith Chair of Molecular Genetics and Head of Department of Biochemistry, Affiliated Senior Group Leader at the Gurdon Institute, Associate Faculty at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Fellow of St John’s College
Professor Miska is a molecular geneticist who has carried out pioneering work on RNA biology. His work led to fundamentally new insights into how small RNA molecules control our genes and protect organisms from selfish genes and viruses, and how RNA can carry heritable information across generations. Miska is Founder and Director of STORM Therapeutics Ltd, which creates novel therapies that inhibit RNA modifying enzymes for use in oncology and other diseases.
“Wonderful recognition of the work of an amazing team of researchers I have the pleasure to work with,” said Miska. “Most of our research has been done using the roundworm C. elegans. As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: ‘You have evolved from worm to man, but much within you is still worm’.”
Professor Serena Nik-Zainal FMedSci
NIHR Research Professor, Professor of Genomic Medicine and Bioinformatics, Department of Medical Genetics and Early Cancer Institute, and Honorary Fellow of Murray Edwards College
Professor Nik-Zainal’s research is focused on investigating the vast number of mutations that occur in human DNA from birth, causing patterns called ‘mutational signatures’, and the associated physiological changes to cellular function, in progressive diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration. She uses a combination of experimental and computational methods to understand biology and to develop clinical tests for early detection and precision diagnostics. Her team also builds computational tools to enable genomic advances become more accessible across the NHS.
“What an honour it is to be elected to the Fellowship. This is a wonderful recognition of the work from my team,” said Nik-Zainal. “We are thrilled and hugely indebted to all our inspiring collaborators, supporters and patients, who have shared in our passion and joined us on our path, exploring biomedical science and translating insights into patient benefit.”
Professor Julian Rayner FMedSci
Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, School of Clinical Medicine, Honorary Faculty at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and Director of Wellcome Connecting Science
Professor Rayner’s research has made significant contributions to our understanding of how malaria parasites recognise and invade human red blood cells to cause disease. His work has helped to identify new vaccine targets, such as a protein essential for red blood cell invasion that is now in early stage human vaccine testing, and inform antimalarial drug development, through co-leading the first ever genome-scale functional screens in malaria parasites. He collaborates closely with researchers in malaria-endemic countries and is strongly committed to engaging public audiences with the process and outcomes of science.
“Malaria is a devastating and too often forgotten disease that still kills more than half a million children every year. Tackling it requires deep collaboration and working across disciplines. I’m enormously honoured by this announcement, which reflects not my work but the work of all the talented people I’ve been lucky enough to host in my lab, and collaborations with friends and colleagues across the world,” said Rayner.
“I’m excited to become a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences because I strongly share their conviction that science is not just for scientists. I believe that dialogue, learning and public engagement are all fundamental and essential parts of the research process, and I look forward to contributing to their leading role in these areas.”
Professor James Rowe FMedSci
Professor of Cognitive Neurology, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
Professor Rowe leads a highly interdisciplinary research team at the Cambridge Centre for Frontotemporal Dementia and at Dementias Platform UK to improve the diagnosis and treatment of people affected by dementia. His work integrates cognitive neuroscience, brain imaging, fluidic biomarkers, computational models and neuropathology for experimental medicine studies and clinical trials. He is motivated by his busy clinical practice and the need for better diversity and inclusivity throughout medical research.
“I am delighted and honoured to be elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. It is a testament to the many wonderful colleagues and students I have been fortunate to work with, and to inspirational mentors,” said Rowe.
“Research excellence, and translation of research for direct human benefit, comes from innovation and collaboration in diverse cross-disciplinary teams. I believe in the vision and values of the Academy as the route to better health for all.”
In addition, two researchers from the wider community have also been elected:
Dr Trevor Lawley FMedSci, Senior Group Leader, Wellcome Sanger Institute and Chief Scientific Officer, Microbiotica
Professor Ben Lehner FRS FMedSci, Senior Group Leader, Human Genetics Programme, Wellcome Sanger Institute