News Release

St. Jude scientist M. Madan Babu elected to the Royal Society of London

Director of the Center of Excellence for Data-Driven Discovery at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital named a Fellow of the leading, 360-year-old British scientific organization.

Grant and Award Announcement

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

M. Madan Babu, Phd, FRS

image: M. Madan Babu, Ph.D., Center of Excellence in Data-Driven Discovery director and member of the Department of Structural Biology. view more 

Credit: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientist Madan Babu Mohan, Ph.D., Center of Excellence in Data-Driven Discovery director and member of the Department of Structural Biology, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. The Royal Society is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

Babu was selected to join the Royal Society for his pioneering data science-based strategies to reveal fundamental principles in biological systems. His scientific accomplishments include determining the molecular mechanisms governing G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling, uncovering the roles of disordered protein regions in biology and disease, and establishing genome-scale principles of gene regulation.

One-third of all Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs target GPCRs, membrane proteins found on the surface of cells. Babu’s work has shown how genetic and isoform variability of GPCRs can influence drug responses. His most recent work investigated how GPCR selectivity for G-proteins is determined. Understanding this family of proteins is of tremendous interest to the development of novel therapeutics.

“I am honored for our work to receive this recognition,” Babu said. “The science we have achieved is possible because of long-term support for fundamental research and the collaborative environment at St. Jude and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. I am grateful for the many contributions of my past and current colleagues, as well as my mentors and family.” 

“Dr. Babu’s election to the Royal Society is well-earned, and we are all honored to call him a colleague,” said James R. Downing, M.D., president and CEO of St. Jude. “His investigations of GPCRs have the potential to have profound implications for pharmaceutical development. Through these discoveries, we can advance cures for pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases.”

“I am delighted to welcome our newest cohort of Fellows,” said Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society. “They are pioneering scientists and innovators from around the world who have confounded expectations and transformed our thinking.”

Founded in the 1660s, the Royal Society is an independent scientific academy of the U.K. and the Commonwealth. Its Fellows have included many of the world’s most eminent scientists and technologists, representing a range of personalities, from Sir Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin to Dorothy Hodgkin and Robert Webster (St. Jude Infectious Diseases, emeritus).

This year sees 59 Fellows, 19 Foreign Members and two Honorary Fellows elected. Babu’s fellow U.S.-based new Fellows and Foreign Members include researchers at Google DeepMind, Harvard University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study, Stanford University and the University of Chicago.

Babu joined the faculty of St. Jude in 2020, following a 14-year tenure as a program leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He earned his Ph.D. in computational genomics from Cambridge University and his undergraduate degree from Anna University, Chennai, India. Babu completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening disorders. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 60 years ago. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. To learn more, visit, read St. Jude Progress blog, and follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.

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