St John's College News

  1. Top international prize for St John’s academic for his work fighting childhood cancers

    “I share this award with all my amazing colleagues and collaborators – including patients and their families – who work together to ensure cancer is no longer a leading cause of death among children across the world”
    A St John’s scientist whose pioneering research identified the origins of aggressive childhood brain tumours has been named The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering prize-winner for 2022. Professor Richard Gilbertson has been awarded The Society Prize, a prestigious recognition that is awarded annually to a researcher, physician, or team lead who has made a positive and lasting impact in the…read more
  2. 'Treasured' College members honoured by students at awards ceremony

    “The Student-Led Teaching Awards were created by Cambridge SU to celebrate outstanding teaching and staff support from across Cambridge University”
    A Fellow and a Library Assistant from St John’s College have both won awards from Cambridge University students for 'going the extra mile' to provide exceptional support that helps them 'realise their dreams'.  Dr Jodi Gardner and Rebecca Le Marchand were among nearly 400 academics and members of staff across the University and its Colleges nominated in the 2022 Student-Led Teaching Awards (…read more
  3. Two St John’s scientists among the new Fellows announced by The Royal Society

    A scientist who identified the origins of common childhood brain tumours and a biologist whose research focuses on the early stages of pregnancy have both been selected as Fellows of The Royal Society. Professor Richard Gilbertson FMedSci FRS and Professor Graham Burton FMedSci FRS are among nine University of Cambridge researchers selected for their ‘exceptional contributions to science’. The…read more
  4. Students highlight ‘exceptional’ academic support from St John’s duo in annual awards

    “On behalf of all students we want to thank everyone who was nominated for their fantastic work”
    A member of Library staff and an academic from St John’s College have been recognised for their outstanding teaching and support in awards run by Cambridge University students. Rebecca Le Marchand, Library Assistant, and Dr Jodi Gardner, a Fellow of St John’s, have both been shortlisted in this year’s Student-Led Teaching Awards (STLAs). These annual Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU)…read more
  5. First female choristers welcomed as members of The Choir of St John’s

    “Extending membership to talented female singers creates an exceptional new musical opportunity for women and girls”
    The Choir of St John’s has made history by admitting girls and women for the first time – making it the only Oxbridge choir to have both male and female members among the children and the students. Three girls and one woman joined the internationally renowned choir as full members this week. Founded in the 1670s, The Choir of St John’s has a rich, warm and distinctive sound. Known…read more
  6. Tributes paid to ‘shining light’ of College community

    "Jonathan had an extraordinary wit and knack to make anyone laugh when they needed it most"
    An ‘intellectually brilliant’ postgraduate student at St John’s has died aged 35. Jonathan Gilmour was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscle-weakening and wasting condition, when he was seven. He used a wheelchair from the age of 13. Jonathan came to St John’s as an undergraduate in 2005, graduating with a First in Theology and Religious Studies before taking an…read more
  7. European grants awarded to academics supporting world’s transition to a carbon-free society

    “This funding will allow our grantees to pursue innovative ambitious research projects at the cutting edge of their disciplines”
    Two St John’s Fellows have won funding from the European Research Council to invest in their pioneering work in the field of green energy. Professor Erwin Reisner is one of nine Cambridge academics to have been awarded Advanced Grants by the European Research Council (ERC), which are made to leading researchers who are established in their field and have a recognised track record of achievements…read more
  8. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert 2022

    An hour-long programme of organ works
    The sixteenth annual Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert will be given by Stephen Farr FRCO ARCM at 8pm in Christ Church Cathedral on Thursday 23rd June 2022 and will also be livestreamed online. Mr Farr will play an hour-long programme of organ works by Couperin, Byrd, Muffat, Guilain, Sweelinck, Krebs and Bach. The concert is free. There are no tickets required for in person attendance in the…read more
  9. Boys are more demanding than girls before they are born – according to scientists

    “Designing individual treatment plans and encouraging pregnant women to make lifestyle changes based upon the sex of their unborn babies could have lifelong health benefits for their children”
    Finding out the sex of a baby during pregnancy could lead to better life chances, a new Cambridge study has discovered. Male baby pregnancies are more likely to result in complications, possibly because they grow faster in the womb and require more nutrients and oxygen than supplied by the mother through the placenta – the temporary organ that attaches to the wall of the uterus during pregnancy…read more
  10. Nobel prize-winner Sir Roger Penrose delivers talk at St John’s

    The Penrose Lectures will address the interplay between mathematics and other disciplines which have been such a distinctive feature of Sir Roger’s research life
    The inaugural Penrose Lecture was given by Nobel Laureate Professor Sir Roger Penrose, alumnus and Honorary Fellow of St John’s College. A sold-out audience of Fellows, students and staff gathered for the first talk in this new biennial lecture series, which was given by Sir Roger in the College’s Palmerston Room on 9 March 2022. Sir Roger won one half of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for the…read more
  11. Festival of poetry returns to St John’s College this spring

    “Seeing poetry read in person by great poets is a really special thing. It’s meaningful and it creates connections”
    Poetry is springing back to life after a two-year hiatus at St John’s College with the launch of a free festival featuring prize-winning poets from Britain, Ireland and around the world. Poetry Spring has been organised by poets Sasha Dugdale, St John’s writer-in-residence, and Dr Mina Gorji, a Fellow at Pembroke College, and will be a day of discussions, readings and a workshop in the Old…read more
  12. Protection of refugee animals is vital to support livelihoods and health

    “The inconsistencies on how to deal with animal displacement uncover gaps in jurisdictions and expertise of humanitarian responders in complex emergencies”
    Animals play a central role in many peoples’ lives, and the lifting of veterinary regulations to allow them to be moved to safety during the current humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is unprecedented. St John's PhD student Dorien Braam argues for this approach to be replicated across other refugee contexts. A month into the Russian invasion in Ukraine, several journalists covering the refugee…read more
  13. Lack of transparency over cost of conservation projects hampers ability to prioritise funds to protect nature

    “If we’re serious about addressing biodiversity loss, knowing the financial costs of interventions is as important as knowing their effectiveness”
    A new study has found that costs of conservation projects are rarely reported, making it difficult for others to make decisions on the most cost-effective interventions at a time when funding for biodiversity conservation is severely limited. A review of 1,987 published reports of conservation interventions has found that only 8.8% reported the total cost of the intervention, and many of these…read more
  14. Robots could produce solar fuels to speed up global shift to renewable energy

    “Artificial intelligence could be the key to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels”
    A ‘cyber-leaf’ designed and assembled using robots could help the world transition more quickly from climate change-inducing fossil fuels to green renewables, according to a new Cambridge study. Fossil fuels – including coal, oil, and natural gas – have been powering economies for more than 150 years, and currently supply about 80 percent of the world’s energy. In a paper published in Nature…read more
  15. Experts on Covid-19, conservation, climate change and law elected as Honorary Fellows of St John’s

    Prestigious awards bestowed upon eminent former scholars and Fellows
    Four distinguished experts in the fields of public health, conservation, climate change and law have been made Honorary Fellows of St John’s College in recognition of their exceptional work. Professor Sharon Peacock CBE, Executive Director of Public Health England and Chair of the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium; Professor Bhaskar Vira, currently Head of the Department of Geography, University…read more
  16. ‘Early coffeehouses brought people and ideas together – the Community Hub will do the same for St John’s’

    “We have ensured the building designs are sustainable and have a minimal environmental impact”
    Before tea eclipsed coffee as the nation’s favourite hot beverage, the exotic Turkish drink was exported to England and coffeehouses spread across London and beyond. Jo Tynan looks at the St John’s connection with the bean that powers so many of us through our day – extra hot latte anyone? Back in the 18th-century, students and Fellows of St John’s were likely to have whiled away some of their…read more
  17. Memorial service to be held for Professor Roger Griffin

    Fellow to be remembered in St John’s College Chapel on 14 May 2022
    A memorial service for Professor Roger Francis Griffin, BA, PhD, ScD, Fellow of St John’s College and Emeritus Professor of Observational Astronomy, will be held in St John’s College Chapel on Saturday 14 May 2022 at noon.  Photo credit: Richard Griffin. Professor Griffin, who died on 12 February 2021 aged 85, was an award-winning astronomer who spent his career studying starlight. College…read more
  18. The lost souls of Hart Island

    “To not know where your loved one is buried can be very painful”
    Sally Raudon is a social anthropologist and PhD student at St John’s whose research into what happens to the dead of New York City – especially the poor – saw her doing fieldwork in the pandemic. She told Karen Clare about mass burials, rituals of grief, and more. More than a million New Yorkers – from stillborn babies to the victims of AIDS, the homeless and Covid dead – are buried in trenches…read more
  19. Educating Mia

    “I’ll start a casual conversation and instantly try to squash any stereotypes”
    Leaving home to go to University was a bigger challenge than for most for second-year St John’s undergraduate Mia Myers, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). She tells Karen Clare about what makes her tick, smashing stereotypes and educating others. “I remember saying to someone once, if you gave me a pill right now, and said, if you take this, you can be completely SMA-free, I don't know if I…read more
  20. Literary event showcases work of creative writing award-winner

    “It will be wonderful to bring this aspect of the College’s cultural activity back to life”
    Poet and author Madeleine Pulman-Jones, current holder of the Harper-Wood Creative Writing and Travel Award at St John’s College, will be reading some of her new work at a special literary event in March. Held for one year, the Harper-Wood Award is intended primarily for creative writers who are in the initial stages of their careers. It is to encourage a project of creative writing by making it…read more
  21. We’ll be there for you, say friends who have invented new tool for meetups

    “We want our app to be the most aesthetic process, with the lowest path of resistance”
    Three undergraduates from St John’s have created a new app that aims to take the hassle out of arranging meetups with family and friends. Third years Towhid Ahmed, who is studying Land Economy, Engineer Oscar Saharoy and Chemical Engineer Jack Burt have created the free online tool, called, with two other university pals: Queens’ College student Zac Tiller, and Vicky Veselichka, a…read more
  22. Up and coming creative writers invited to apply for Harper-Wood Award 2022-2023

    Funding up to £15,500 available for successful candidate to study and research outside UK
    St John’s College, Cambridge is offering emerging authors and poets the chance to turn to the next page of their career with the launch of this year’s Harper-Wood Creative Writing and Travel Award for English Poetry and Literature. Applications open on Wednesday 23 February for the award, which was established by the College in 1949 to inspire an undertaking of creative writing by making it…read more
  23. College medical students honoured in University education awards

    “The Cambridge University Surgical Society received a number of nominations for their incredible efforts to support their peers during the disruption of the 2020-2021 academic year”
    Three St John’s medics have been recognised in a University-wide awards scheme for their ‘incredible’ efforts to support student peers during the pandemic. Cambridge University Surgical Society has been named as a winner in the 2021 Outstanding Student Contribution to Education Awards (OSCEA) – with St John’s students Kiran Joshi, Daphne Chia and Alex Fung jointly nominated for their efforts…read more
  24. Academic to head to United Nations in USA to showcase interfaith work in fighting hate speech online

    “These young people are already contesting terrorist ideologies on these new communication platforms and sharing messages of peace”
    A Junior Research Fellow at St John’s is due to travel to the United Nations in New York in February to showcase the results of a year-long interfaith initiative to fight hate speech, fake news and the stoking of interreligious violence online. In January last year, Dr Marie Chabbert was chosen as an Interfaith Ambassador for the United Nation’s Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and United…read more
  25. Memorial service to be held for Dr Peter Linehan

    “His hospitality was legendary and his loyal friendship, often extending over decades, enriched countless lives”
    A memorial service will be held in St John’s College Chapel this spring for the renowned historian, Dr Peter Linehan. Dr Peter Anthony Linehan, MA, PhD, FBA was a Fellow for 54 years and former Dean of St John’s who first came to the College as an undergraduate to study History in 1961. He died peacefully in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, in July 2020 at the age of 76 after several months…read more