Public Release: 

Biochemical Society announces 2019 award recipients

Biochemical Society

March 28, 2018, London, UK - The Biochemical Society has announced the winners of the Society's annual awards today.

The annual awards recognize established researchers as well as scientists in the early stages of their career.

Each winner exemplifies the very best of the bioscience community in fields ranging from cell and developmental biology to endocrinology.

Dr Melina Schuh from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany has been awarded The Colworth Medal, which is one of the Society's oldest continuously awarded scientific prizes for outstanding research by a young biochemist. Dr Schuh previously won the Biochemical Society's Cells Early Career Research Award in 2014. Dr Schuh is a molecular cell biologist whose research focuses on unravelling the molecular workings of meiosis and chromosome segregation in mammalian oocytes. Her innovative and creative approach has led to the development of new tools to study meiosis, in particular at the interface between chromosomes and cytoskeletal structures, and her laboratory has been one of the first to study the causes of chromosome segregation errors directly in live human oocytes.

Also among the winners is Professor Dame Caroline Dean, FRS, from the John Innes Centre who has been awarded The Novartis Medal and Prize. Professor Dean's research has received many accolades, including the Royal Society's Darwin Medal in 2016 and an award for Excellence in Bioscience from the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council. Professor Dean's research focuses on understanding the molecular controls used by plants to judge when to flower. She is specifically interested in vernalization -- the acceleration of flowering by exposure to periods of prolonged cold.

On winning the The Novartis Medal and Prize Professor Dean said: "I am really delighted to have been selected for this award. This honour recognizes the excellent work of many post-doctoral scientists and research students who have been in the lab over the last 30 years - an ever expanding Dean lab 'family', and a very fruitful collaboration with Professor Martin Howard. I am also exceedingly grateful to the European Research Council and the BBSRC for funding."

Other winners include Professor R. John Ellis, FRS, who has been awarded the Centenary Award. Professor Ellis has won a number of Awards including the Croonian Medal and Lecture of the Royal Society in 2011 for "pioneering contributions to biochemistry, molecular biology, and also plant sciences".

During a long and distinguished career, Professor Ellis made fundamental discoveries in biochemistry on topics including chaperone-assisted protein folding. He studied the mechanism of folding of a protein essential for light harvesting and photosynthesis, and opened the possibility of major improvements in agricultural productivity. Professor Ellis's work led to a great increase in research by other laboratories using in vitro methods to investigate the chloroplast genetic system, and his discovery of the role of molecular chaperones in protein folding and protein assembly is now well recognized in a variety of processes in all types of cells.

Professor Colin D Bingle, Chair of the Awards Committee, said: "The Biochemical Society Awards are the perfect way to honour exceptional scientists within the bioscience community every stage of their careers. As ever the standard of the nominees was exceptionally high and our winners can be justifiably proud of their achievements. The awards are a real tribute to the talent within the bioscience community. On behalf of the Society, I'd like to congratulate all of the winners, every one of whom has made outstanding contributions in their respective fields. Well done."

2019 Biochemical Society Award Winners

  • AstraZeneca Award: Professor Ervin Fodor, Sir William
    Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, UK

  • Biochemical Society Award: Professor Paul Bieniasz,
    The Rockefeller University, USA

  • Centenary Award: Professor R. John Ellis,
    University of Warwick, UK

  • Colworth Medal: Dr Melina Schuh
    Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany

  • Industry and Academic Collaboration Award:
    Professor Maddy Parsons
    King's College London, UK

  • The Novartis Medal and Prize: Professor Dame Caroline Dean
    John Innes Centre, UK

  • Sir Philip Randle Lecture: Professor Antonio Vidal-Puig,
    Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UK

  • Teaching Excellence Award: Dr Luciane Vieira de Mello Rigden
    University of Liverpool, UK

  • Early Career Research Award: Biotechnology: Dr Michael Booth
    University of Oxford, UK

  • Early Career Research Award: Genes: Dr Ana Casanal
    MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB),
    University of Cambridge, UK

  • Early Career Research Award: Signalling: Dr Qian Wu,
    University of Cambridge, UK


For more information on the Biochemical Society Awards, please visit:

All of the award and medal lectures will take place in 2019 and award winners will be invited to submit an article to a Society-owned publication.

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