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Queen honours our researchers

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

School staff are among pioneering researchers and health professionals whose achievements have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours list this week.

David Mabey, Professor of Communicable Diseases, received a CBE for services to international health development in Africa and Asia, and Polly Roy, Professor of Virology, was awarded an OBE for services to Virus Research.

David Mabey in TanzaniaDavid Mabey (pictured right), who joined the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 1986 as senior lecturer, was appointed Professor in 1994, director of the Wellcome Trust Bloomsbury Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine at the School, and from 1991-2007 was responsible for the Knowledge Programme on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections, funded by the Department for International Development.

Professor Mabey said: “This award is a tribute to all the wonderful people I have been lucky enough to work with over the past 35 years at the School, the MRC Unit in The Gambia, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and our collaborating institutions in Africa, Asia and South America.

“I am grateful to them and to the organisations that have funded our work, especially the Wellcome Trust for their long term support, which has enabled us to recruit, train and mentor a whole generation of outstanding clinical and non-clinical scientists who are devoting their lives to solving the health problems of low and middle income countries.”

Polly Roy in labPolly Roy (pictured right) joined the School as Professor of Virology in 2001, and her pioneering work over the past decade has made significant contributions to understanding the structure and molecular biochemistry of orbiviruses, particularly Bluetongue virus.  She recently achieved the first synthesis of this virus solely from synthetic genes in cells, as well as in a cell-free system, a major achievement in the field of virology.

Her team’s research findings have resulted in more than 300 publications in journals, invited book chapters and reviews. She was awarded the Indian Science Congress General President’s Gold medal by the Prime Minister of India in 2012, was a finalist in the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council ‘Innovator of the Year’, and in 2013 won a Senior Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust.

Professor Roy said: “I never imagined I would receive such tremendous honour, and it is wonderful that fundamental virus research is receiving some wider recognition. As scientists, we live for our discipline, and tend to just get on with it. When friends and colleagues told me the news on Saturday, I was so happy I nearly took a break from working on a journal manuscript!”

Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "Many congratulations to David and Polly for their outstanding contributions to infectious disease research, global health and development. These honours are very well deserved, and it is wonderful to see School staff honoured in this way."

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Image Top: David Mabey in Tanzania. Image Bottom: Polly Roy in laboratory. Credit: LSHTM

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