St John's College News

  1. Physiologist dies at the age of 85

    Fellow was former Head of MRC Neuroendocrine Development and Behaviour Group
    Dr John Bower Hutchison, an alumnus, Fellow and former College lecturer in Physiology at St John’s, has died. After taking a degree at the former University of Natal (now part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal) in South Africa from 1956-61, Dr Hutchison came to St John’s College in 1964 to study Zoology. He was a Fellow in Physiology at the College from 1967-70 and returned in 1975 after being…read more
  2. Early-career writers invited to apply for 2024-2025 Harper-Wood Award

    Funding up to £18,600 available for winning author or poet
    St John’s College, Cambridge is offering emerging authors and poets the chance to turn the pages 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 21 February 2024 for the award, which was established by the College in 1949 to inspire an undertaking of creative writing by making it…read more
  3. Impact of climate emergency on pregnant women explored thanks to £2m funding

    “Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of extreme heat”
    A group of 700 pregnant women in The Gambia will be studied as part of a collaborative research project examining how high temperatures where they live affect them and their babies. One of the leaders of the four-year study is Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, Professor in Fetal and Placental Physiology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College. The £2m Wellcome Trust grant will…read more
  4. Gunpowder, treason and plot: the 1,000-year history of traitors and faithfuls

    “The law of treason evolves over centuries and was used as a weapon of control and deterrent”
    From the Bible to smash-hit BBC television show The Traitors, being accused of betrayal is a sure-fire way to become notorious.   Everyone has heard of Judas, Guy Fawkes, and Anne Boleyn, not least because treason is the most serious crime that anyone can commit – under English law it is considered in a class of its own, worse even than murder.  But what is treason? For many it is simply a…read more
  5. Student vocalist makes it to Battle of the Bands final

    “It promises to be an electrifying night, showcasing the best of Cambridge's student talent”
    A singer from St John’s could win the chance to perform on the main stage at Cambridge Club Festival after making it through to the University’s Battle of the Bands competition final. Alice Markham, a second-year English undergraduate and Choral Scholar in The Choir of St John’s College, is the lead singer in soul and funk band Soft Crunchy Landing, which is among four student bands gearing up…read more
  6. ‘Outstanding’ students win Larmor Awards for studies and community work

    ‘Intellectual qualifications, moral conduct and practical activities’ recognised
    A powerlifter and a charity campaigner are among five graduates of St John’s to be honoured with 2023 Larmor Awards for their exceptional academic work and contributions to College life and beyond. The awards began in the 1940s to recognise ‘intellectual qualifications, moral conduct, or practical activities’ and are named after Sir Joseph Larmor, a 20th-century physicist and mathematician who…read more
  7. Air pollution and cancer link explored at 2024 Linacre Lecture

    Historic lecture to be delivered by Professor Charles Swanton of The Francis Crick Institute
    Professor Charles Swanton, Deputy Clinical Director at The Francis Crick Institute, will give the 2024 St John’s College Linacre Lecture. This year’s lecture will take place on Thursday 15 February at 5.30pm in the Main Lecture Theatre of the Old Divinity School. The Swanton Lab studies how cancers evolve in the body to spread and become resistant to therapy and finds new ways to treat them…read more
  8. Ancient DNA reveals reason for high multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s rates in Europe

    “These results change our view of the causes of multiple sclerosis and have implications for the way it is treated”
    Researchers have created the world’s largest ancient human gene bank by analysing the bones and teeth of almost 5,000 humans who lived across western Europe and Asia up to 34,000 years ago. By sequencing ancient human DNA and comparing it to modern-day samples, the international team of experts mapped the historical spread of genes – and diseases – over time as populations migrated. The ‘…read more
  9. In case you missed it…. 12 tales from St John’s in 2023

    The year in review
    As we head into 2024, we look back at the past 12 months at St John's College. From the launch of our spectacular new Buttery, Café and Bar to a multitude of good news generated by our hard-working students, academics and staff, it's been another year to celebrate. Catch up with some of the stories you may have missed. January  Opening of new social spaces transforms 500-year-old tradition of…read more
  10. Honorary Fellow who transformed the study of intellectual history dies at the age of 99

    Professor John G.A. Pocock was a renowned historian of political thought
    A ‘giant of the historical profession’ and Honorary Fellow of St John’s College has died three months before his 100th birthday. Professor John Greville Agard Pocock, Harry C. Black Emeritus Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, was a historian of political thought and considered to be one of the most influential in his lifetime. His importance lay in his…read more
  11. Early career academic awarded prestigious Fellowship for her research into mental health risks of social media

    “Research urgently needs to move beyond the current conclusion that ‘it’s complicated’ to inform safeguards for adolescent mental health in the digital age”
    An academic from St John’s College has been named as a Future Leaders Fellow and will receive £1.9 million to boost her research into social media and teenage mental health. Dr Amy Orben is one of 75 new Future Leaders Fellows announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to support universities and businesses in developing their most talented early career researchers and innovators, and to…read more
  12. Why reading nursery rhymes and singing to babies may help them to learn language

    “We believe that speech rhythm information is the hidden glue underpinning the development of a well-functioning language system”
    Parents should speak to their babies using sing-song speech, like nursery rhymes, as soon as possible, say researchers. That’s because babies learn languages from rhythmic information, not phonetic information, in their first months. Phonetic information – the smallest sound elements of speech, typically represented by the alphabet – is considered by many linguists to be the foundation of…read more
  13. Prizes awarded to St John’s students for achieving outstanding results

    Accolades given to 11 current students and recent graduates of the College
    Eleven current and recently graduated students from St John's College have been awarded prizes for their excellent work and results across the University of Cambridge. Third-year undergraduate Luke Ashworth has received the Faculty of History Prize of £100 for outstanding performance in Part I of the Historical Tripos. Myra Koh, a second-year undergraduate, has won the Andrew Hall Prize for the…read more
  14. Academic wins French science prize for ‘outstanding’ work in stem cell research

    “This award reflects the essential contributions, insights, and support of my lab members past and present, as well as my many experimental collaborators”
    A Fellow from St John’s has been awarded a prestigious prize worth €20,000 by the French Academy of Sciences for his pioneering research into stem cells and disease. Professor Benjamin Simons has been presented with the 2023 Charles-Léopold Mayer Prize, which is given to researchers who have performed outstanding work in the biological sciences, and especially in the areas of cell or molecular…read more
  15. The Reverend Canon Dr Victoria Johnson appointed as Dean of Chapel at St John’s

    "I am looking forward to working with the world-class musicians at St John’s and creating a space for wonder, love and praise at the heart of College life"
    The Canon Precentor of York Minster has been named as the new Dean of Chapel at St John’s College. The Chapel of St John’s is one of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge and is home to a lively, welcoming and inclusive community. Dr Johnson will oversee and manage the provision of services and the conduct of divine worship in the College Chapel, the activities of the choirs, and the…read more
  16. Numbers come up for students in Cambridge competition tackling misinformation

    “I am delighted to have had our work recognised as the winning concept”
    A Master’s student at St John’s has won the Cambridge Misinformation Hackathon with two friends - and the trio all did their undergraduate degrees at the same university in South Africa.  Josephine (Josie) Rey and her teammates Gregor Feierabend, from Trinity Hall, and Luca Powell, from Wolfson College, developed a method to address misleading numerical claims in the media for the competition,…read more
  17. Ancient litter reveals history of ordinary people who lived during first Mediterranean ‘superpower’

    “One of the strengths of archaeology is its potential to reveal the lives not just of the people who wrote history but also the silent majority ‘beyond history’”
    The lives of farmers and shepherds who toiled on the land in Italy up to 8,000 years ago have been pieced together for the first time in a new book. The Etruscans ruled Etruria – now the western side of Italy between Rome and Florence – between the eighth and fourth centuries BC when their civilisation was absorbed by the Roman Empire, and their people were the first ‘superpower’ of the…read more
  18. Rising star undergraduate celebrated as one of UK’s ‘Future Black Leaders’

    “All the winners are so inspiring. It is mind-blowing that I’ve been selected”
    A St John’s student has been named as one of this year’s Top 150 UK Future African and African Caribbean Leaders. Annissa La Touche, Co-President of St John’s College Junior Combination Room (JCR) undergraduate committee, has been recognised for her work representing the student body and with Beyond Equality, a UK organisation that challenges gender stereotypes. Annissa attended a ceremony at…read more
  19. Using lasers to ‘heat and beat’ 3D-printed steel could help reduce costs

    “If you can control the properties you want in metals, you can leverage the greener aspects of 3D printing”
    Researchers have developed a new method for 3D printing metal that could help reduce costs and make more efficient use of resources. The method, developed by a research team led by an engineering Fellow from St John's College, Cambridge, allows structural modifications to be ‘programmed’ into metal alloys during 3D printing, fine-tuning their properties without the ‘heating and beating’ process…read more
  20. ‘Exceptionally promising’ academics announced as winners of £100,000 prize

    “We are very proud to support these researchers through the next stage of their careers”
    Two Fellows from St John’s have been awarded prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prizes worth £100,000 each to advance their research in philosophy and theoretical statistics. Dr Jessie Munton has been announced a prize-winner by The Leverhulme Trust for her work on philosophy of mind, cognitive science and epistemology (the study of knowledge), and Professor Po-Ling Loh has been named as a recipient…read more
  21. Sustainable fashion ‘Swish’ returns to St John’s

    “The Swish is wins all around – you get rid of stuff you don’t wear, have some coffee and cake, then take home free new clothes”
    St John’s is holding its second ‘Swish’ clothes swap party this term after a successful debut event earlier this year. ‘Swishing’ is a popular sustainable fashion activity that enables you to donate your own good quality, unwanted clothes to swap with others – so you refresh your wardrobe while going easy on the planet. The first St John’s Swish, which was supported by St John’s College…read more
  22. Making the impossible possible

    Can we win the race against time to beat climate change? St John’s scientists debate in the latest Souvient Cambridge podcast
    “Clean technology provides the biggest economic and societal opportunity of the century and the nation that grabs that opportunity will be the one that comes out strongest in the end.” St John’s has launched the fifth episode of its podcast series Souvient, featuring a conversation between host Heather Hancock, Master of John’s, and a trio of experts from the College who all work at the…read more
  23. Honorary Fellow of St John’s named as next Master of Churchill College

    Scientist and former Fellow founded world-leading consortium that helped in fight against Covid-19
    Professor Sharon Peacock CBE FMedSci, Honorary Fellow of St John’s, will be the eighth Master of Churchill College.  The announcement follows Churchill’s selection process that ran this year and her election has now been approved by King Charles III. She will be formally admitted as Master in October 2024, succeeding Professor Dame Athene Donald, whose 10-year term ends in September. Professor…read more
  24. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture 2023

    Public talk on ‘Illuminating the Dark Universe with Gravitational Waves’
    The 17th Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled Illuminating the Dark Universe with Gravitational Waves, will be given in Cambridge by Professor Alessandra Buonanno, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics based in Potsdam, Germany. The public talk will take place on Tuesday 14 November 2023 at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge. For centuries, humans…read more
  25. Poster competition helps prospective Cambridge students shed light on their academic passions

    “I was delighted with both the number and the quality of entries this year”
    A competition to design an academic poster saw 125 young people from 90 UK schools take up the challenge laid by down by St John’s College on the theme of ‘dark’. Ten sixth-formers have been awarded National Book Tokens as prizes after their research projects impressed the judging panel made up of Fellows, Directors of Studies and other academics, chaired by The Rev’d Dr Mark Oakley, Dean, tutor…read more