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OBE medal in a silk lined case

New Year's Honours 2019

3 Jan 2019

Congratulations to the following people closely connected with the MRC who have been recognised in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list:

Knighthoods and damehoods

Donald Brydon, Chair of the MRC to March 2018 (currently Chair of the MRC’s Legacy Council), has been awarded a knighthood for services to business and charity.

Sir Donald had a 20-year career with Barclays Group followed by 15 years with the AXA Group. He is Chair of the London Stock Exchange, Sage Group plc and the charity Chance to Shine.

Professor Mike Ferguson, Regius Professor of Life Sciences and Academic Lead for Research Strategy, University of Dundee, has been awarded a knighthood for services to science.

Sir Mike is a biochemist who uses a multidisciplinary approach to study the architecture of cell surfaces to understand the biochemistry of single-celled protozoan parasites that cause tropical diseases. He is a member of the MRC’s Biomedical Catalyst Major Awards Committee

Professor David Klenerman, Professor of Biophysical Chemistry, University of Cambridge, has been awarded a knighthood for services to science and the development of high speed DNA sequencing technology.

Sir David’s research is focused on developing and applying biophysical methods to biological and biomedical problems. He is well known for co-inventing a method of high-speed DNA sequencing, known today as Illumina sequencing. He is a Programme Lead for the UK DRI centre at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Jonathan Montgomery, Chair, Health Research Authority and Professor of Healthcare Law, University College London, has been awarded a knighthood for services to bioethics and healthcare law.

Sir Jonathan has served on (part MRC-funded) Health Data Research UK’s board since it was established in 2017 and is the founding Chair of the Health Research Authority. He has previously served as Chair of the Human Genetics Commission, the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Professor Louise Robinson, Academic Director at the (part MRC-funded) National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle University, has been awarded a damehood for services to primary care.

Dame Louise is a member of the MRC-NIHR Methodology Research Panel.


Professor Ewan Birney, Joint Director of the (part MRC-funded) European Bioinformatics Institute, has been awarded a CBE for services to computational genomics and leadership across the life sciences.

Professor Birney is a bioinformatician who has made significant contributions to the analysis of genomes. He will be a UKRI-BBSRC council member from April 2019.

Professor David (Herbie) Newell, Emeritus Professor of Cancer Therapeutics, Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University (he was the founding Scientific Director of the institute), has been awarded a CBE for services to medical research and drug development.

Professor Newell has dedicated his career to working in cancer research and over the last 30 years has forged a specialist role at the forefront of academic cancer drug discovery. He has chaired the MRC's Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme Panel and Confidence in Concept Panel.


Professor Jane Armitage, Professor of Clinical Trials and Epidemiology, MRC Population Health Research Unit at the University of Oxford, has been awarded an OBE for services to medical research.

Professor Armitage’s pioneering work within clinical trials research has long influenced major treatment guidelines both nationally and internationally, with significant impact in terms of common clinical practice and public health. She is a member of the MRC’s Clinical Training and Career Development Panel.

Professor Ian Deary was awarded an OBE for services to the social sciences. He is the director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, which is part-funded by the MRC.

Professor Jonathan Seckl, Professor of Molecular Medicine and Vice Principal Planning, Resources and Research Policy at the University of Edinburgh, was awarded an OBE for services to endocrinology.  

Professor Seckl helped establish the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh and is co-chair of the MRC’s Biomedical Catalyst Major Awards Committee and Chair of the MRC’s Confidence in Concept/Proximity to Discovery Panel.


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