Proud scientist matches her sister’s OBE

Prof Anne Osbourn of the John Innes Centre in Norwich has been made an OBE for services to plant sci

Prof Anne Osbourn of the John Innes Centre in Norwich has been made an OBE for services to plant science. Picture: John Innes Centre - Credit: John Innes Centre

A renowned Norwich plant scientist has become the second member of her family to be made an OBE – matching the honour bestowed on her sister earlier this year.

Prof Anne Osbourn, of the John Innes Centre at the Norwich Research Park, was recognised in the New Year's Honours list for services to plant science.

It caps a memorable 12 months for the Osbourn family, after her sister Dr Jane Osbourn, a former John Innes Centre PhD student, was also made an OBE in the 2019 Birthday Honours list for services to drug discovery, development and biotechnology.

"It's a great honour to have another OBE in the family," said Prof Osbourn. "Our mother is thrilled."

Prof Osbourn has been at the Norwich-based science institute since 1985 and her research on plant natural products has been credited with opening new pathways to "chemistry of agronomic and medicinal importance".

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She has been an associate research director of the John Innes Centre and also spent many years in research and leadership roles at The Sainsbury Laboratory.

Prof Dale Sanders, director of the John Innes Centre, said: "I'm delighted that Anne's pioneering work in plant natural product biosynthesis and her enormous contribution to the John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory and the Norwich Research Park has been honoured in this way."

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Prof Osbourn was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in April 2019, and she holds many leadership roles including directorships of OpenPlant, a £12m Synthetic Biology Research Centre led jointly by the University of Cambridge and the John Innes Centre, and the Norwich Research Park Industrial Biotechnology Alliance.

She is also a trustee of the New Phytologist Trust and founder of the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) Trust, an international charity that promotes innovation in science communication. Another scientific name on the honours list was marine professor and Broads Authority member Tim Jickells, who was also made an OBE.

Prof Jickells, who is 66 and lives near Dereham, was appointed to the BA earlier this year, and was recognised for his services to marine and atmospheric sciences, having previously worked at the University of East Anglia.

He said: "I was really quite astonished when I received the letter - I'm very flattered and honoured. I didn't really think it was something that happened to normal people."

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