Academy of Medical Sciences elects six new Fellows from Imperial College London

Six researchers are among 50 top biomedical and health scientists to be elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Imperial Professors Wendy Barclay , Maria Belvisi , Clare Lloyd , Irene Miguel-Aliaga , Daniel Rueckert and Graham Williams have been selected for their outstanding contributions to advancing medical science, cutting edge research discoveries, and translating developments into benefits for patients and wider society.

Professor Jonathan Weber , Dean of Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine , said: “I am really delighted to congratulate the latest Imperial Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences; these are the most prestigious awards for clinical medicine nationally and I am immensely proud of all of them, and delighted that all their contributions to medical science have been so publicly recognised.

“The range of these Fellows also demonstrate well the strong links which exist across our faculties, with the pharmaceutical industry and with our embedded MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences”.

Professor Wendy Barclay, Department of Medicine

Professor Wendy Barclay is Action Medical Research Chair in Virology and will be Head of the new Department of Infectious Disease from 1 August 2019 . Her expertise is in the field of respiratory viruses, in particular the influenza virus. Her works aims to understand the molecular and cellular basis of the development of disease, host range restrictions and transmissibility of influenza.

“I am delighted to have been elected to The Academy. I have had the honour of working with a fantastic group of researchers, and am lucky to have been supported by generous mentors throughout my career. I hope that I will be able to work alongside other Fellows to tackle challenges old and new, that we face from infectious diseases.”

Professor Maria Belvisi, National Heart and Lung Institute

Professor Maria Belvisi is Head of the Respiratory Pharmacology Group at Imperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI). Her research is focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of asthma, COPD and chronic cough, and on developing therapies for these diseases. She is also Senior Vice President and Head of Research and Early Development, Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmune (RIA), R&D BioPharmaceuticals at AstraZeneca.

Professor Belvisi said: “It is a great honour to have been elected as a Fellow of the Academy. This reflects the fantastic research work from my teams, colleagues and collaborators over many years.”

Professor Clare Lloyd, Faculty of Medicine and National Heart and Lung Institute

Professor Clare Lloyd is Professor of Respiratory Immunology within the NHLI and Vice Dean (Institutional Affairs) at the Faculty of Medicine. This role covers all aspects of diversity and equality, particularly incorporating and coordinating the Faculty’s Athena SWAN together with career development programmes. Her research programme at the NHLI focuses on the development and regulation of immune responses in the lung across the life course, but particularly the inception of allergic immunity in early life. Her team seeks to understand why some children wheeze with viral infection and others don’t, and how that impacts subsequent development of asthma.

Professor Lloyd said: “I am delighted and honoured to be elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. It reflects the hard work and commitment of all the talented students, postdocs, fellows and colleagues I have been fortunate to work with over the years. I look forward to working with other Fellows to advance biomedical and health research, particularly helping early career researchers achieve their potential”.

Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga, Institute of Clinical Sciences

Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga is Section Chair and Programme Leader at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences , based at Imperial’s Institute of Clinical Sciences. Her group uses fruit flies to explore how our brains and guts communicate and has pioneered the genetics of neurons in the guts of flies.

Professor Miguel-Aliaga said: “This is not only a personal honour but also a tacit acknowledgment of the hard work of that many people from many nations have carried out in my lab over the years. Looking at the list of new academy members, it is refreshing to see increasing efforts from the academy to acknowledge the contributions of female scientists and scientists who migrated to the UK to contribute to its science.”

Professor Daniel Rueckert FREng, Department of Computing

Professor Daniel Rueckert is Head of Imperial’s Department of Computing , in the Faculty of Engineering. In his research he is developing novel, artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for biomedical image computing covering all aspects from image acquisition to image analysis and interpretation. His research has a strong translational focus that aims to address real-world problems in healthcare.

Professor Rueckert said: “I am delighted and honoured to be elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. This is a great tribute to all the PhD students, postdocs, colleagues and collaborators who I have had the pleasure of working with at Imperial and all over the world during the past two decades."

Professor Graham Williams, Department of Medicine

Graham Williams is Professor of Endocrinology in the Department of Medicine at Imperial and President of the Society for Endocrinology. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of thyroid hormone action and the genetic origins of bone and cartilage disease, work which has transformed our understanding of thyroid physiology and skeletal biology in health and disease.

Professor Williams said: “I am surprised, honoured and delighted to be elected as a Fellow of the Academy. This reflects the extraordinary dedication and creativity of my colleagues, postdocs and students, and it is a real privilege for me to work alongside all of them and with our inspiring collaborators from all over the world. I am very much looking forward to the opportunities I will have to contribute to the outstanding work of the Academy and to the advancement of academic medicine in the UK.”

Praise from the Academy

Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci , President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: “The Academy’s Fellowship is a unique assembly of the finest minds in biomedical and health research, from across the UK and beyond.

"Our Fellows are at the centre of all that we do, from supporting early career researchers via our hugely popular mentorship programme to incorporating public and patient views into health research. Their collective wisdom is a national asset to guide research and policy aimed at tackling pressing health challenges.

“It brings me great pleasure to congratulate the new Fellows, each of whom has pushed the boundaries of their individual research field. I am always delighted to see the Fellowship expand, adding fresh talent to our invaluable pool of high quality guidance, advice and expertise.” Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or Imperial College London.

Mr Al McCartney
Faculty of Medicine Centre