Centre members elected to Academy of Medical Sciences 2023

Congratulations to Charlotte Coles, Eric Miska and Serena Nik-Zainal who have been elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship.

They are among seven scientists from the University of Cambridge who have been elected as Fellows this year.

The three Centre members join a further 56 outstanding biomedical and health researchers 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.

Professor Charlotte Coles is Professor of Breast Cancer Clinical Oncology in the Department of Oncology, NIHR Research Professor, and Director of Cancer Research UK RadNet Cambridge.

Charlotte, who is an Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology at Addenbrooke's, 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.

“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 Eric Miska FMedSci is Herchel Smith Chair of Molecular Genetics and Head of Department of Biochemistry, Affiliated Senior Group Leader at the Gurdon Institute and Associate Faculty at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Eric, a member of our Cell and Molecular Biology Programme, 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.

He 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 Eric. "Most of our research has been done using the roundworm C. elegans. As Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: 'You have evolved from worm to man, but much within you is still worm'.”

Professor Serena Nik-Zainal is NIHR Research Professor and Professor of Genomic Medicine and Bioinformatics in the Department of Medical Genetics and Early Cancer Institute.
Serena’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.

Having previously been awarded the Foulkes Foundation Academy of Medical Sciences Medal, Serena, who is an Honorary Consultant in Medical Genetics at Addenbrooke's said: “What an honour it is to be elected to the Fellowship. This is a wonderful recognition of the work from my team.

“We are thrilled and hugely indebted to all our inspiring collaborators, supporters and patients, that have shared in our passion and joined us on our path, exploring biomedical science and translating insights into patient benefit”.

Fellows are drawn from institutions across the UK and their breadth of expertise ranges from molecular imaging to biostatistics to public health policy.

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, from understanding the spread of infectious diseases to developing mental health interventions. 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 Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy at an event on Wednesday 12 July which is also a celebration of the Academy's 25th Anniversary.

Find out more about the seven scientists from the University of Cambridge elected to the Fellowship.

A full list of new Fellows can be found here.

18 May 2023