St John’s researcher among ‘exceptional’ health scientists elected Fellow of prestigious Academy

“The greatest health advances rely on the findings of many types of research, and on multidisciplinary teams and cross-sector and global collaboration”

A cancer research pioneer from St John’s College who uses maths to better understand human biology has today been elected to The Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship.

Less than a week after becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society, Professor Benjamin Simons FRS FMedSci has been named as one of 50 leading biomedical and health scientists to be elected to the Fellowship of the prestigious Academy. Four more University of Cambridge researchers have also been elected to the Fellowship today (12 May).

The Academy of Medical Sciences is the independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science. Its elected Fellows are the UK’s leading medical scientists from hospitals, academia, industry and public service, and its mission is to advance biomedical and health research.

Prof Benjamin Simons

The new Fellows have been selected from 384 candidates 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. They include experts who have spearheaded the Covid-19 response and those who are continuing to advance biomedical sciences in innovative ways for health challenges beyond the pandemic.

Professor Simons, a Fellow of St John’s, is Royal Society EP Abraham Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and a Senior Group Leader at the Welcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute. His work is multidisciplinary and involves developmental biology and cancer research through the use of mathematical approaches; he translates concepts and methods from statistical physics and mathematics to gain insights into human biology, such as the initiation and growth of cancerous tumours.

He has also made profound contributions to the understanding of quantum processes at the mesoscopic scale, and produced influential studies in condensed matter physics.

Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: “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.

“Although it is hard to look beyond the pandemic right now, I want to stress how important it is that the Academy Fellowship represents the widest diversity of biomedical and health sciences. 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.”

Academy door sign
Photo credit (above and banner image): Big T for The Academy of Medical Sciences.

On 6 May, Professor Simons was one of three St John’s researchers to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, the world’s longest-running scientific academy. Following today’s announcement, he said: “As a theorist, and still a relative newcomer to the field of biomedical sciences, it is a great honour and pleasure to be elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.”

The four fellow University of Cambridge researchers elected to the Academy Fellowship are: Professor Franklin Aigbirhio FRSC FMedSci, Professor Ravindra Gupta FMedSci, Professor Brian Huntly FMedSci and Professor Adrian Liston FMedSci.

Dame Anne said: “I am truly delighted to welcome these 50 new Fellows to the Academy’s Fellowship, and I offer my congratulations to each of them on their exceptional contribution to biomedical and health science. The knowledge, skill and influence that each brings to the Fellowship is the Academy’s most powerful asset.”

Professor Philippa Saunders FRSE FMedSci, Registrar of The Academy of Medical Sciences, added: “The pandemic has highlighted the global nature of health and the immense power that the scientific community can have when it works together. I am delighted to welcome the 50 new Fellows and look forward to working with them through the Academy.”

The new Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy on 1 July 2021.

More details about the 2021 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Royal Society awards Fellowships to three pioneering St John’s scientists working for the benefit of humanity

Published: 12/5/2020

Back to College news