St Andrews professor honoured for outstanding contribution to medical science

Wednesday 9 May 2012

A St Andrews professor has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in recognition of his outstanding contribution to medical science.

Professor James H Naismith, Professor of Chemical Biology at St Andrews, is among 46 of the UK’s leading medical researchers elected to the Academy in 2012.

Academy Fellows are elected for outstanding contributions to the advancement of medical science, for innovative application of scientific knowledge or for their conspicuous service to healthcare. The expertise of the new Fellows spans neurosurgery, anticancer drug development, reproductive sciences, medical genetics and R&D leadership.

Professor Naismith’s work examines the atomic structures of proteins in order to better understand infectious diseases. His work holds out the prospect of the development of new, more effective drugs for a range of deadly diseases, including hospital acquired infections such as MRSA.

Professor Sir John Tooke, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said, ‘These new Fellows represent the wealth of talent within the UK biomedical community. Excellent medical science and medical scientists are key to breakthroughs in preventing and treating ill health. I am delighted that the Academy can recognise these new Fellows for the work they have done in the generation of cutting edge science and its translation into health benefits for society.’

Commenting on his election Professor Naismith said, “I am delighted and honoured to be recognised in this way. Election by my peers to one of the UK’s four National Academies is something quite special. However, all the credit really belongs to the outstanding students, post-docs and technicians with whom I have worked with for 18 years. To them, a sincere thank you. I have been fortunate to have worked in St Andrews with so many talented and supportive colleagues, particularly those in the BSRC and in Chemistry. I want to thank my funders The Wellcome Trust, EU, BBSRC and the University itself.”

Professor Naismith has already been elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh and European Molecular Biology Organisation. He leads the Biomedical Science Research Complex (BSRC) at St Andrews which has recently doubled in size due to support from the Wellcome Trust, SFC and the University. The BSRC is a ground breaking initiative which brings together researchers from chemistry, biology, physics and medicine to improve human health. The BSRC has made important discoveries including potential new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics to help alleviate the burden of parasitic, viral and bacterial diseases.

The new Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy at a ceremony on Wednesday 27 June 2012.


Notes to Editors

Professor Naismith is available for interview on 01334 463792 or email [email protected].

The Fellowship

This year Fellows were chosen from 354 candidates. The seven Sectional Committees met in March to consider potential Fellows for 2012 entry to the Academy. Three nominators from within the Fellowship must back each candidate. The Academy Registrar Professor Patrick Maxwell, Professor of Medicine, University College London, oversees the election.

The election brings the number of Fellows to 1,061.

The independent Academy of Medical Sciences promotes advances in medical science and campaigns to ensure these are translated into benefits for patients. The Academy’s Fellows are the United Kingdom’s leading medical scientists from hospitals, academia, industry and the public service.

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Issued by the Press Office

Contact Niall Scott on 01334 462244 or email [email protected]

Ref: Naismith Fellow 100512
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