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Biosciences Professor’s double international success

30 June 2011

Professor John HarwoodProfessor John Harwood after receiving his Supelco/Nicholas Pelick award at the Annual Meeting of the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) in Cincinnati in May 2011. Left to right: Dr Erich Dumelin (incoming AOCS President), Dr Len Sidisky (Supelco), Professor John Harwood, Dr J. Keith Grime (outgoing AOCS President)

Professor John Harwood has just returned from the United States and Hungary, having been recognised for outstanding research on both occasions.

Professor Harwood, of the School of Biosciences was in Cincinnatti to receive the Supelco/Nicholas Pelick Research Award. The Award recognises outstanding original research in fats, oils and lipid chemistry or biochemistry and is one of the most prestigious in its field, with several Nobel Laureates among its past winners. Award-winners have to have made outstanding contributions through influential research discoveries and high-quality technical papers.

Professor Harwood was the 2011 recipient for his work covering several different aspects of plant lipid (fats and oils) research. In particular, he has improved understanding of how plants control lipid metabolism. A number of herbicides work through their effect on lipids, and Professor Harwood’s research has also helped understanding of these processes. More recently, Professor Harwood has been involved in improving yields from oil crops. A recent successful trial of oilseed rape has confirmed predictions made by his research team.

The American Oil Chemistry Society (AOCS) presented Professor Harwood with the award at its annual meeting, where Professor Harwood also delivered a lecture. The Award is sponsored by the biochemistry firm Supelco and AOCS Past President Nicholas Pelick.

Professor Harwood also delivered a lecture at his inauguration as Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Academy is one of the most influential scientific bodies in Europe. Honorary Memberships are only awarded to people with an outstanding international reputation and a strong connection to Hungarian science. Professor Harwood has worked closely with a number of Hungarian colleagues over the years, especially Professor Laszlo Vigh of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged

John Harwood - webProfessor Peter Biro of the Biology section of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences introduces Professor Harwood at his inauguration

Professor Harwood, who is also Deputy Director of Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, said: "It’s been a busy few weeks, but it has been very pleasing to be honoured by two international scientific bodies in this way. I see both honours as tributes to the work put in by my research teams here in Cardiff over the years and also to our many international partners."

Professor Ole Petersen, Director of the School of Biosciences, himself an Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy, said: "I am absolutely delighted that John Harwood's important research has been recognised by these two very prestigious bodies. The AOCS award, and John's election as an Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, both highlight the internationally acknowledged quality of the School of Biosciences' work on plant biochemistry."