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St John's College news archive

  1. When real men wore feathers

    “We’ve all heard the phrase ‘to put a feather in your cap’ but Schwarz took this to another level”
    The recreation of a Renaissance headdress reveals how European men harnessed the seductive power of ostrich feathers. From burlesque dancers to catwalk models and Hollywood stars, ostrich feathers have helped countless women steal the limelight. But this wasn’t always the case. In the sixteenth century, it was Europe’s men who wielded the sensual plume to increase their fame and fortune. Now,…read more
  2. Butterflies are genetically wired to choose a mate that looks just like them

    The male butterflies were introduced to female butterflies of two species and were scored for their levels of sexual interest
    Male butterflies have genes which give them a sexual preference for a partner with a similar appearance to themselves, according to new research. A team of academics from the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, observed the courtship rituals and sequenced the DNA from nearly 300 butterflies to find out how much of the genome was…read more
  3. Applications open for College Research Associates 2019

    Applications open for College Research Associates 2019
    Applications are now open for College Research Associates at St John's College.  St John's will be appointing up to six College Research Associates from 1 September 2019. College Research Associates are post-doctoral Research Fellows of the University with specialist research fields. Each College Research Associate is appointed for several years, and they provide a relevant point of contact…read more
  4. Geologist’s Association announce St John’s student as winner of £1000 thesis award

    The national competition is run by the Geologist’s Association for postgraduate students studying earth sciences
    Graduate student Caroline Soderman has won the 2019 Curry MSc Prize for her ‘outstanding’ work on the origins of Iceland's volcanic hotspot. She is the first student from the University of Cambridge to win the prize since its launch in 2009. Caroline Soderman (far left) with colleagues from the Department of Earth Sciences in Scotland The national competition is run by the Geologist’s…read more
  5. Olympic athlete, leading biochemist and The Duke of Cambridge elected as Honorary Fellows

    "Their outstanding contributions to society resonate strongly with the ethos of St John’s"
    Five distinguished people have been named as Honorary Fellows of St John’s College in recognition of their exceptional contributions in their respective fields. World champion rower Annamarie Phelps, businessman Mark Coombs, chair of the Food Standards Agency Heather Hancock, Biochemist Sheena Radford and The Duke of Cambridge have all been announced as Honorary Fellows of St John’s College,…read more
  6. Student wins prestigious award from the Serbian Government for contributions to science

    Previous winners include inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla and political activist Helen Keller
    Graduate student Filip Bošković received the Serbian Svetosavska Prize in recognition of his ‘innovative work and research’ during his undergraduate degree. At a ceremony in Belgrade Bošković, who is now studying for an MPhil in Physics at St John’s, was presented with the award by Mladen Šarčević, the Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development. Filip Bošković (centre) at…read more
  7. ‘Transformational’ biotech company receives $31m backing from investors

    "We are always looking for the brightest thinkers and we have found that in Fluidic Analytics"
    Biotechnology firm Fluidic Analytics has raised $31m - £23.5m - to continue developing products to unlock the biology behind major diseases. Fluid Analytics was started in 2015 by Dr Andrew Lynn, a graduate of St John’s, and Professor Tuomas Knowles, a College Fellow, to gain advanced knowledge of how biology unfolds in daily life by developing products for characterising proteins and their…read more
  8. Company founded by St John’s academics to combat Alzheimer's secures £18 million funding

    "Protein misfolding diseases are one of the most critical global healthcare challenges of the 21st century"
    A biopharmaceutical company set-up to develop drugs to treat related illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s Diseases has announced that it has completed a Series A financing round. Wren Therapeutics raised a total of £18 million from an international syndicate led by The Baupost Group with participation from LifeForce Capital and a number of high net worth individual investors. Founded…read more
  9. Placentas adapt when mothers have poor diets or low oxygen during pregnancy

    "Mitochondria have a remarkable ability to adapt and compensate for environmental impacts"
    Cambridge researchers have discovered the placenta regulates how much oxygen and nutrients it transports to babies during challenging pregnancies in a study using mice to model conditions in the womb. The placenta is the least understood organ in mammals, like humans, and is notoriously difficult to study in pregnant women. But its ability to function properly is vital as it impacts on pregnancy…read more
  10. Historical scenes in Les Misérables brought to life with help from St John’s Fellow

    "I think the overall production of Les Misérables is faithful to the original and to the historical period, and it looks fantastic."
    A BBC adaptation of Victor Hugo’s tale of poverty, injustice and love in 19th century France had expert advice before it hit our television screens. Professor Robert Tombs, French historian and Fellow at St John’s, worked as a historical advisor on the new drama to help bring 19th century France to life – a period Tombs specialises in. He provided the production team with an accurate picture of…read more
  11. Johnian lawyers named as new ‘silks’ in Queen’s Counsel appointments

    "I am confident that those appointed today truly deserve to be Queen’s Counsel"
    Three alumni of St John’s described as ‘truly excellent advocates’ have been announced as Queen’s Counsels (QCs). Alec Haydon, Fionn Pilbrow and James Todd were awarded the honorific titles by the Queen on the advice of the Lord Chancellor following consideration by the independent Queen’s Counsel Selection Panel.  Queen’s Counsels (QCs) are also known as ‘silks’ because traditionally QCs wear…read more
  12. Former Senior Bursar of St John’s dies age 87

    A well-known figure in Cambridge, Dr Johnson served the community for many years
    The St John’s community is deeply saddened to announce that Dr Christopher Johnson, Fellow, died on January 5 2019. Born in Blackpool on January 8 1931, Dr Johnson died just three days short of his 88th birthday. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn before he came to Selwyn College, Cambridge, in 1950 as an undergraduate. After completing his PhD, the talented…read more
  13. Professor Serena Best to give the Linacre Lecture 2019

    The annual Linacre Lecture will take place at St John’s College on 5 February and will be given by Professor Serena Best. Professor Best’s lecture is entitled: ‘Scaffolds for Tissue Regeneration: Do We Understand the "Hole" Story?’ Serena Best is a Professor of Materials Science and a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. She is the Deputy Head of the Department of Materials Science and…read more
  14. Johnians recognised in Queen’s New Year Honours

    "I have made it my mission in retirement to do what I can: it’s great fun and seems to be meeting a need”
    A graduate of St John’s who is spending his retirement mapping inshore areas of Scotland to make it safer for sailors to navigate has been made an MBE. Retired engineer Robert Bradfield was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours for services to Navigation and Maritime Safety on the West Coast of Scotland. Bradfield has been remapping inshore areas in Scotland, some of which haven’t been…read more
  15. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture 2019

    The thirteenth Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled "What Are We? Where Do We Come From? Where Are We Going?", will be given by Professor John Ellis FRS at 5pm on Wednesday 20 March in Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge. Admission is free, but booking is required via the website https://tinyurl.com/andrewchamblinlecture2019  read more
  16. The ‘forgotten pandemic’ that killed more than 50 million people

    "Spanish flu killed more people in 25 weeks than HIV/AIDS killed in 25 years."
    Celebrations marking the end of the First World War 100 years ago were cut short by the onslaught of a devastating disease – the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. Its early origins and initial geographical starting point remain a mystery but in the summer of 1918, there was a second wave of a far more virulent form of the influenza virus than anyone could have anticipated. Soon dubbed ‘Spanish Flu’…read more
  17. ‘Owner-driven’ reconstruction is key to rebuilding communities affected by disasters in Global South

    "We have found over and over again that local residents should not only be involved but should take ‘ownership’ of the process of planning and constructing their homes"
    Homelessness caused by tsunamis, flooding and civil war offers opportunities to build safer housing and improve long-term development if local communities take ownership of the process – according to a Cambridge researcher. Jaime Royo-Olid, a PhD candidate at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, has edited a new book titled Building, owning and belonging that brings together 40 years of…read more
  18. Babylonian story of revenge made into world’s first original-language film

    “As a story of three-fold revenge, The Poor Man of Nippur is one people today can easily relate to"
    A violent and comic story of revenge from 700 BC has been dramatised for the first time – in an ancient language that has not been spoken for 2,000 years. Students led by Dr Martin Worthington, a Fellow at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, have made the world’s first film in Babylonian based on a 2,700-year-old poem. The Poor Man of Nippur is a 160-line Babylonian story about a pauper…read more
  19. A feast for the ears: festive music at St John's

    Carol services, informal recitals, and festive concerts in the countdown to Christmas
    Christmas carol services sung by the Choir of St John’s and St John’s Voices, a performance of Handel’s Messiah, a charity carol concert, and performances by vocal groups Aquila and The Gentlemen of St John’s are just some of the festive musical events taking place at St John’s during the countdown to Christmas. The music starts with the annual Advent Carol Services. The first service takes…read more
  20. Student wins £250 after his design is chosen for new altar frontal

    Michael Reiners' design of a Dove of Peace was chosen as the winner of the student competition
    St John’s Chapel has a new altar frontal to mark religious celebrations after a competition was launched to design a new motif. Michael Reiners, a third year History of Art student at St John’s, received a £250 prize from Sir Christopher Dobson, Master of St John’s College, after his design of a Dove of Peace was chosen as the winner of the student competition. From left to right: Sir…read more
  21. Master of St John’s College knighted by the Duke of Cambridge

    “It was a great honour and privilege to be knighted by the Duke of Cambridge whose visits to St John’s we remember with such great pleasure"
    A formal ceremony was held at Buckingham Palace for people who have been awarded honours such as MBEs and knighthoods to receive their medals – and the head of St John’s became a Sir. Sir Christopher Dobson was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2018 to commemorate his illustrious scientific career. The Birthday Honours recognise the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people…read more
  22. DNA analysis of world’s oldest natural mummy unlocks secrets of Ice Age tribes in the Americas

    Scientists have been able to track the movements of the first humans as they spread across the Americas
    A legal battle over a 10,600 year old ancient skeleton – called the ‘Spirit Cave Mummy’ – has ended after advanced DNA sequencing found it was related to a Native American tribe. The revelation has been published in Science today as part of a wide ranging international study that genetically analysed the DNA of a series of famous and controversial ancient remains across North and South America…read more
  23. The Great War and St John's

    "The First World War was a hugely traumatic period of College history. The war years were wasted years for St John’s"
    “The War has affected University and College life so profoundly, has taken away so large a proportion of our numbers, has turned the minds of those who are in residence in directions so different from what are customary, and has seemed to diminish so much the relative importance of academic occupations and attainments, that, even though there are a thousand men in residence in the University and…read more
  24. China’s most celebrated martial arts fiction writer Louis Cha has died aged 94

    "Generations are said to have owed their interest in reading itself to his fiction"
    The world’s biggest kung fu fantasy writer, Louis Cha OBE, has died in Hong Kong following a long illness. Known widely by his pen name Jin Yong, Cha’s books defined the genre known as wuxia for generations and led to him being known as the JRR Tolkien of Chinese literature. He wrote 15 novels throughout his illustrious career which were subsequently made into films, games, comics and television…read more
  25. Tapping the potential for science: Mutum Yaikhomba talks about his research

    "I am working in a place where Watson and Crick made their discoveries about DNA. The opportunities are enormous. Cambridge is a living legacy”
    Mutum Yaikhomba’s story is a tribute to the value of blue skies research. As an undergraduate he benefited from being given the freedom to experiment and explore at IISER Pune, where he was in one of its early cohort of students and where he was able to combine different disciplines to further his research interests. He is now reaping the rewards as he deepens his research into proteins in the…read more