Norwich scientists honoured with major research accolades
Two Norwich scientists have won international honours for their work in the field of plant biology and its implications for both human health and agricultural crop protection.
Prof Cathie Martin, a project leader in metabolic biology at the John Innes Centre, and Prof Sophien Kamoun, a group leader at The Sainsbury Laboratory, have both been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society – placing them among the ranks of the world’s most distinguished scientists.
In a 35-year career at the John Innes Centre, Prof Martin has been a powerful advocate of applying plant science for human health. She becomes the 29th scientist in the centre’s 108-year history to receive the honour.
“This is an honour and I would like to thank the many inspiring colleagues and collaborators particularly from the John Innes Centre and from around the world who have worked with me along the way,” she said.
Prof Martin, who was awarded an MBE for services to plant biotechnology in 2014, has researched plant genetics and metabolism to provide new insights into plant developmental and metabolic processes which are beneficial to human health and disease prevention.
She has a collaborative research programme in China on Chinese Medicinal Plants, particularly those producing anti-cancer metabolites used for complementary therapies, and is working with research institutes in Kenya and Ethiopia to develop the resilient legume, grass pea, as a high-protein food and forage crop, suitable for sub-Saharan Africa.
In an equally-distinguished career, Prof Kamoun, who is also Professor of Biology at the University of East Anglia, has made a major contribution to the understanding of plant diseases and plant immunity at the Sainsbury Laboratory.
“I’m humbled and honoured by this recognition especially as I’ve only been in the UK for about 10 years,” said Prof Kamoun.
“These days, science is all about teamwork. Behind every individual award stands an amazing team of students and researchers. I’m extremely grateful to the brilliant people I have worked and collaborated with over the years. The thrill of discovery is addictive. Sharing the experience with others is priceless.”
Prof Kamoun has pioneered genomics and molecular biology methods to reveal fundamental insights into the biology and evolution of plant pathogens, which has resulted in new approaches to mitigate some of the world’s most serious crop diseases.
He received the American Phytopathological Society Syngenta Award in 2003, the Noel Keen Award in 2013, the Daiwa Adrian Prize in 2010, and the Kuwait Prize in 2016.
The Fellowship of the Royal Society is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists working in the UK and Commonwealth.
Past Fellows and Foreign Members have included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.