RSC busts

Seven Cambridge researchers are among the 44 new Fellows announced by the Royal Society this week.

These scientists follow in the footsteps of early Fellows such as Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke.

Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society

The new Fellows join the ranks of the UK and Commonwealth's leading scientists as the Society celebrates its 350th Anniversary.

Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society said: "These scientists follow in the footsteps of early Fellows such as Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. The new Fellows announced today embody the spirit of enquiry, dedicated to 'the relief of man's estate' on which the Royal Society was founded. That spirit is as alive today as it was 350 years ago."

The new Fellows are:

Professor Andrea Brand, Herchel Smith Professor of Molecular Biology at the Gurdon Institute and the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience and a Fellow of Jesus College, is distinguished for her pioneering work on the development of the nervous system. Using Drosophila as a model organism, and using sophisticated live imaging techniques, she has explained how cell fate determinants become localised to one side of a cell, allowing neural precursors to divide asymmetrically in a stem cell-like fashion.

Professor Nicola Clayton, Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Experimental Psychology and Clare College Graduate Tutor, has pioneered new procedures for the experimental study of memory, planning and social cognition in animals, all attributes that have been claimed to be uniquely human, and her work has changed our view of animal intelligence and its relationship to human memory and cognition.

Professor Ben Green, Herchel Smith Professor of Pure Mathematics and a Fellow of Trinity College, has proved a number of remarkable results in arithmetic combinatorics, the highlight of which is his proof, with Terence Tao, that the prime numbers contain arithmetic progressions of all lengths.

Professor Roger Hardie, Professor of Cellular Neuroscience in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, is distinguished for his extensive studies on invertebrate visual transduction which have transformed our wider understanding of cell signalling. His demonstration that the Drosophila trp and trpl genes code for selective calcium channels was the seminal observation that launched the TRP channel field, now a major part of calcium signalling and a focus of medical research.

Dr Michael Hastings, MRC Staff Scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, is distinguished for his highly influential contributions to our understanding of biological clocks through the study of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. He was instrumental in taking circadian neurobiology to the molecular and cell biological level.

Professor Max Pettini, Professor of Observational Astronomy at the Institute of Astronomy, is distinguished for his extensive observational achievements and insightful interpretations of the chemical and physical conditions of interstellar matter seen in a wide range of cosmic environments. His early research led to the discovery that our Galaxy is surrounded by a halo of hot ionised gas, verifying a prediction made decades earlier.

Professor Wolf Reik, Honorary Professor of Epigenetics in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, is distinguished for his fundamental discoveries of epigenetic mechanisms in mammalian development, physiology, genome reprogramming, and human diseases. His work led to the discovery of the molecular mechanism of genomic imprinting, and uncovered non-coding RNA and chromatin looping regulating imprinted genes, which he showed to be involved in foetal nutrition, growth, and disease.

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