Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences 2021

Four Centre members join 50 outstanding biomedical and health scientists elected to the prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship for 2021.

Congratulations to Professor Franklin Aigbirhio, Professor Brian Huntly, Professor Adrian Liston and Professor Benjamin Simons, who have been elected to the respected and influential Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences, announced today.

The new Fellows have been 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.

Professor Franklin Aigbirhio is Professor of Molecular Imaging Chemistry in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and a member of our Advanced Cancer Imaging Programme.

His research is focused on the development and application of molecular imaging probes, in particular for the in vivo imaging technique of positron emission tomography (PET). His team at the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre design, develop and apply imaging probes that are specific and selective to biological markers, and are sensitive to biochemical changes associated with disease mechanisms.

Professor Brian Huntly is Professor of Leukaemia Stem Cell Biology in the Department of Haematology, and he co-leads our Haematological Malignancies Programme and our Graduate Training Programme. Prof Huntly’s group is interested in the interface between normal and malignant haematopoietic stem cell biology. Comparisons of these systems will allow us to determine how normal regulatory mechanisms are corrupted to generate haematological malignancies. His group uses experimental model systems and patient sample to answer these questions. This information will provide the basis for targeted therapies to improve the dismal treatment outcomes for haematological malignancies.

Prof Huntly said: I see my election as recognition of the hard work of many people who have contributed to my research and also highlighting the tremendous work we are doing."

Professor Adrian Liston, is a Senior Group Leader at the Babraham Institute and a member of our Cell and Molecular Biology Programme. Prof Liston’s work explores uncharted areas of immunology with large implications for human health. The current research interests of the lab include working to shed light on the interactions between the immune system and the brain, and to learn more about how immune cells adapt and operate in different tissues around the body.

Commenting on his election, he said: “This is a really wonderful recognition of the quality of the science being run by my team here at the Institute. I am honoured to work with the best team of immunologists around, always willing to explore new fields and push the boundaries forwards.”

Professor Ben Simons, Royal Society EP Abraham Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, a Senior Group Leader at the Gurdon Institute, and a member of our Aerodigestive Cancer Programme. His election recognises his work on stem cell regulation and the early phases of tumour growth. His research interests are diverse and include the application of statistical approaches to biologically-inspired problems in stem cell and development biology.

His group is interested in understanding the mechanisms that control stem and progenitor cell fate in epithelial tissues, including those of the GI tract, lung and skin, and how these programmes become dysregulated in the transition to cancer. In a multidisciplinary programme of research, his team combine the cell lineage tracing studies with computational genomics. An unusual feature of this approach is its reliance on concepts and methods from statistical physics and mathematics.

Prof Simons said: "As a theorist, and relative newcomer to the field of biomedical sciences, it is a great honour to be elected."

12 May 2021