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Academy of Medical Sciences welcomes 50 new fellows

Image: Willy Barton, via Shutterstock.com

Fellows include scientists behind Covid jab and treatment trials, and UK’s deputy chief medical officer

The Academy of Medical Sciences has elected 50 biomedical and health scientists to its fellowship, including Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, whose team developed the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

The new fellows were 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”, the academy said on 12 May.

New fellows also include Oxford professors Martin Landray and Peter Horby, who are chief investigators of the Recovery trial, the world’s largest Covid-19 drug trial, which saw the drug dexamethasone approved as a treatment for critically ill patients with the virus.

Jonathan Nguyen-Van-Tam, the UK government’s deputy chief medical officer, and Yvonne Doyle, who is medical director and director of health protection at Public Health England, were also elected as fellows for their work during the pandemic.

“The last year has clearly demonstrated the power and prowess of UK biomedical science, and I am proud of how many fellows, new and old, have been at the forefront of the Covid-19 response in the UK and globally,” the academy’s president, Anne Johnson, said.

The academy says the new fellows represented the highest proportion of experts from minority ethnic backgrounds ever elected to the academy, at 14 per cent, up from 12 per cent last year.

Regional representation within the fellowship also improved, with new fellows being elected from 11 different regions of the UK, including Northern Ireland. However, only one-third of the new fellows are women.

“I want to stress how important it is that the academy fellowship represents the widest diversity of biomedical and health sciences,” said Johnson. “The greatest health advances rely on the findings of many types of research, and on multidisciplinary teams and cross-sector and global collaboration.

“I am pleased that the newest cohort of fellows demonstrates this breadth of expertise, from microbiology to healthcare law and medical statistics. I also warmly welcome the three new fellows bringing knowledge and insight from the industry sector; translational collaboration with industry is necessary for patients to reap the full benefits of UK research.”