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St John's College News

  1. Scientists genetically engineer yeast to improve understanding of how cells work

    "We used mathematical modelling and genetic modification to edit the cell and retune what its response should be"
    Researchers have ‘fine-tuned’ a major cell signalling mechanism by rewriting DNA inside yeast cells to control how they respond to their environment. The study, which was published today by Cell, has immediate biotechnology uses but could also have wider implications for healthcare research. It is hoped being able to alter how cells react will help scientists understand how diseased cells…read more
  2. Painting of mother of King Henry VII revealed as oldest large-scale portrait of an English woman

    “This portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort is one of the most important portraits of the early 16th century”
    A portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort has been named as the first piece of work identified as being painted by 16th century Dutch artist Meynnart Wewyck – solving a 500-year-old mystery. Wewyck was an active member of King Henry VII’s court during his reign and became his preferred painter. But until now the absence of a signed or documented work has made it impossible to attribute paintings to…read more
  3. Historian of medicine admitted as Affiliated Scholar at St John’s

    Dr Dobson has held a number of prestigious Research Fellowships
    Dr Mary Dobson has been made a member of St John’s College. The historian of medicine has wide ranging interests in global health.  She read Geography at St. Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, and was awarded a BA with First Class honours in 1976 and a DPhil at Nuffield College, Oxford, in 1982. She is the author of numerous publications ranging from academic articles and monographs to…read more
  4. Researchers to sequence 10,000-year-old DNA to decode the evolution of mental health issues

    The scientists aim to shed light on the evolution of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia
    A team of international scientists will analyse the DNA of thousands of ancient human remains to map the genetic origins of neuropsychiatric diseases. Professor Eske Willerslev, a Fellow at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and his team of international researchers will build one of the largest genomic datasets ever created by sequencing the DNA from bones and teeth with some of the…read more
  5. Dean of Chapel shortlisted for international writing award

    "All of the shortlisted writers have a deep sense of life as a mysterious gift to be explored. To be named alongside them is wonderful and humbling.”
    The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, Dean of Chapel at St John’s, has been shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey Prize for the 'most promising contemporary theological writing from the global Church'. Canon Oakley’s book The Splash of Words: Believing in poetry has been named along with the authors of five other books including Rachel Mann and Keith Eyeons. The Splash of Words argues that belief in…read more
  6. From race track to Master's Lodge - Sir Christopher rehomes a greyhound

    It’s a student’s life for retired racing greyhound
    A retired racing greyhound named Jim has taken up residence at St John’s after being adopted by the Master of the College.  Four-year-old Jim, whose racing name is Kairi Jem, raced at Henlow Greyhound Stadium and won six races during his career. Since retiring from the track, Jim’s trainer Kelli Windebank has been searching for the perfect home for his retirement and is delighted to have now…read more
  7. Skeletons in the Closet at St John's

    The exhibition is part of the Science Festival and will take place on Saturday 23 March from 11am-5pm
    The bones of men and women buried at a medieval cemetery found underneath the Old Divinity School will feature in a free exhibition held in College as part of the Cambridge Science Festival. Skeletons in the Closet at St John’s will explore the fascination we have had for centuries with human, animal and even insect skeletons. On display will be 15th century manuscripts including College founder…read more
  8. Professor Serena Best wins award celebrating women in science

    Serena Best, Fellow of St John’s College and Professor of Materials Science, has been awarded a Suffrage Science Award for her scientific achievements. The fourth Engineering & Physical Sciences Suffrage Science Awards, held on International Women’s Day, 8 March, saw 12 leading and pioneering female scientists and engineers from around the world presented with awards of hand-crafted…read more
  9. Memorial Service for Dr Christopher Johnson

    The memorial service will take place on 27 April
    A Memorial Service for Dr Christopher Michael Paley (Chris) Johnson, M.A., Ph.D., Fellow and former Senior Bursar of St John’s College, will be held at St John’s College on 27 April 2019. Dr Christopher Johnson died on January 5 2019, just three days short of his 88th birthday. Born in Blackpool on January 8 1931, Dr Johnson was educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn before…read more
  10. Keeping it clean: Housekeeping at St John’s

    Louise Offley has been a bedmaker at St John’s for 35 years, making her the longest serving member of the Housekeeping department
    From vacuuming around students in bed to cleaning Fellows’ rooms – Louise Offley, the longest serving member of the Housekeeping department, has seen it all. She tells Louise Hanzlik about her three decades at St John’s, and how climbing the stairs doesn’t get any easier. With the mirror polished, the bathroom gleaming, the washing up done, the surfaces dusted, and the carpet vacuumed, Louise…read more
  11. From black armbands to withheld wages – the chequered history of women at St John’s

    “Is a pretty girl less pleasing to us because she can understand us when we speak something better than nonsense?”
    Women may not have come to study at St John’s until the 1980s, but as Hazel Lawrence finds out, they have played a crucial role in our history. St John’s would not exist if it wasn’t for women. One of them you will already be familiar with – Lady Margaret Beaufort. The financial legacy of the mother of King Henry VII enabled the foundation of St John’s in 1511. Our Boathouse bears her name and…read more
  12. Women of the JCR

    "I love St John’s and the people in it, but there are things about the view people hold of the College that I want to change”
    When Sharon Chen Cooper, the first female undergraduate student to be admitted to St John’s, arrived in 1982 the flag was flying at half-mast and the Head Porter was wearing a black armband. Jo Tynan meets the female members of the Junior Combination Room (JCR) committee to find out how life has changed. Trekking across the courts in search of a toilet is thankfully a thing of the past for…read more
  13. Newell Classics Event 2019

    What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us?
    The Newell Classics Event 2019, celebrating the classical world, will take place at St John’s College on 2 May. The lecture will be given by Walter Scheidel and is entitled: ‘What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us?’ Walter Scheidel will be presenting his hypothesis that the fall of Rome was the making of Europe, and will be discussing it with Professor Sheilagh Ogilvie. Walter Scheidel is…read more
  14. Adams Prize winners 2018-19 announced

    The Adams Prize commemorates John Couch Adams’s role in the discovery of the planet Neptune
    The University of Cambridge has announced the winners of one of its oldest and most prestigious prizes. The Adams Prize is awarded jointly each year by the Faculty of Mathematics and St John’s College to UK-based researchers, under the age of 40, doing first class international research in the Mathematical Sciences. This year’s topic was 'The Mathematics of Networks', and the prize has been…read more
  15. PhD student at St John’s selected as one of the 2019 ‘New Generation Thinkers’

    “More than ever we need the new insights that come from arts and humanities researchers to help us navigate the complexities of our globalised world"
    Ten researchers from across the UK have been announced as ‘New Generation Thinkers’ by BBC Radio 3, BBC Arts and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) today. From techno music in Berlin to the post-war ‘rag trade’, and divisive dams to fake news, the researchers from across the UK will have the opportunity to communicate their research by making programmes for radio and television for…read more
  16. Cambridge University’s highest degrees for ‘distinguished research’ awarded to two St John’s Fellows

    The LittD and ScD are highest level of degrees given by the University and only a handful of them are awarded each year
    The President of St John’s and Professor Eske Willerslev both received the highest possible academic accolade from the University of Cambridge at a ceremony on Saturday. Dr Frank Salmon, President of St John’s, and Professor Eske Willerslev, College Supervisor in Zoology, were awarded a Doctor of Letters (LittD) and a Doctor of Science degree (ScD) respectively. The LittD and ScD are highest…read more
  17. Decade of academic excellence celebrated as St John's marks 10 years of Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarships

    "The values, the ideas and the discipline instilled in me at Cambridge have lasted through my life”
    Ten years ago the first Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship students arrived at St John’s – now 19 scholars have completed their doctoral studies and another four are in residence. Dr Singh was Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014. He is a graduate and Honorary Fellow of St John’s College where he was awarded a BA in Economics in 1957. It was an experience that had a profound impact on him, and…read more
  18. Harper-Wood Studentship Applications 2019

    Harper-Wood Studentship Applications 2019
    Applications are now being accepted for the Harper-Wood Studentship for English Poetry and Literature 2019. This one-year Studentship is an opportunity for a student who has graduated from any British University (i.e. England, Scotland and Wales), Ireland, the Commonwealth or the United States of America to pursue their own creative writing project. Previous holders include Thom Gunn, Michael…read more
  19. Physicists get thousands of semiconductor nuclei to do ‘quantum dances’ in unison

    "This is a Holy Grail breakthrough for quantum dot research – both for quantum memory and fundamental research"
    A team of Cambridge researchers have found a way to control the sea of nuclei in semiconductor quantum dots so they can operate as a quantum memory device. Quantum dots are crystals made up of thousands of atoms, and each of these atoms interacts magnetically with the trapped electron.  If left alone to its own devices, this interaction of the electron with the nuclear spins, limits the…read more
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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