Photosynthesis researchers to be awarded Biochemical Society medals

Posted on April 13, 2017 in Research by . Share this article

Two photosynthesis researchers at the University of Sheffield will be awarded prestigious Biochemical Society medals as part of the organisation’s 2018 awards.

Dr Matt Johnson will receive the Colworth Medal, which is given each year to an outstanding biochemist in the first ten years of their career, and Professor Neil Hunter FRS has been invited to give the Keilin Memorial Lecture.

Dr Matt Johnson

The lecture is named after the late David Keilin FRS and lecturers are selected from fields related to Keilin’s interests in bioenergetics, electron transfer and mitochondrial biology.

The Biochemical Society’s awards recognise scientists who have made a big impact on the scientific community and society at large through their work.

Matt has pioneered the use of affinity-mapping atomic force microscopy to study photosynthesis and provide insights into plant genetics to support global food security efforts. Last year, he was awarded one of the Society of Experimental Biology’s President’s Medal for his work on the molecular machinery of photosynthesis.

Neil was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009, for his work to characterise the full set of molecular components that photosynthetic bacteria use to capture energy from sunlight. In awarding him the lecture, the Biochemical Society cited his research into energy and electron transfers in microbial photosynthesis, and the major contributions he has made to understanding the biogenesis of several plant proteins.

Professor Neil Hunter FRS

Both scientists are based in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, and supervise second year Grantham Scholar Guy Mayneord.

Matt said: “I’d like to thank the Biochemical Society for awarding me this prestigious honour. It is incredibly humbling to be recognised alongside the many great scientists who have previously won the award, including Sir Hans Kornberg, a personal scientific hero of mine.

“I would also like to acknowledge the inspirational senior scientists who have mentored me and the hardworking students who have supported my work. Without their encouragement and dedication this achievement wouldn’t have been possible.”

Neil said: “I am delighted and honoured to be the recipient of the Keilin Medal and Lecture, particularly because I join a list of eminent recipients of this award. I would like to thank past and present members of my research group and my many collaborators for their contributions over the last 33 years.”