Pioneering flu researcher wins major Imperial scientific award

bird flu will again 'jump' to humans and evolve so it can be transmitted between people, the achievements of this year's Ernst Chain Prize winner are a timely reminder of how far we have come in combating this deadly disease. Sir John Skehel's dedicated and brilliant effort over the past three decades has not only unlocked some of the secrets of flu, but he has also pioneered many structural biology techniques to help fellow researchers decipher how cells function."

The winner of the Ernst Chain Prize is chosen by a panel of five and receives a personal award of UKP10,000 together with a commemorative medal.

Sir Ernst Chain was jointly awarded the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, with Sir Alexander Fleming and Sir Howard Florey, for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases. He was Professor of Biochemistry at Imperial between 1961-1973 and became a Fellow of the College in 1978. He died in 1979.

Sir John Skehel says:

"Being awarded this prize is a great honour. I'm pleased to be associated in any way with the brilliant scientists who helped usher in the antibiotic era, so receiving this award set up in the name of Ernst Chain is a particular honour for me."

The prize-giving ceremony will take place on Tuesday 16 March 2004. An opening address will be given by Imperial's Rector Sir Richard Sykes followed by a lecture delivered by Sir John on the 'Mechanism of Influenza Virus Infection'. Dr Ralph Kohn of the Kohn Foundation will present the Prize.

The event will take place at 6.00pm at Imperial's South Kensington campus. Tickets are free but must be requested in advance by emailing: amanda.cerny@imperial.ac.uk.


Contact: Judith H Moore
Imperial College London

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