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Biosciences success in fellowship elections

5 May 2011

Seven senior members of the Cardiff School of Biosciences have been elected to join the Fellows of the Learned Society of Wales (LSW).  All four of the School's Research Divisions will be represented on the LSW following the election of Professors Ole Petersen (Director of School), Lynne Boddy, Mike Bruford, Alun Davies, Steve Dunnett, John Harwood and Jim Murray to its membership.

The Learned Society of Wales (LSW) was launched in May 2010, and this is the inaugural election of its Fellowships. The Society aims to establish itself both as a recognised representative of the world of Welsh learning internationally and as a source of authoritative, scholarly and critical comment and advice on policy issues affecting Wales. Within the UK, learned societies operate through such venerable institutions as the Royal Society (the world's oldest scientific academy, established by Royal Charter in 1660) and the British Academy (the UK's national academy for the humanities and social sciences, which received its Charter in 1902). 

Election to a Fellowship of the Learned Society of Wales (FLSW) gives recognition to School of Bioscience staff with a demonstrable record of excellence and achievement in their discipline. 

Professor Lynne Boddy DSc FLSW (Organisms and Environment Division) champions the study of fungi and how important they are to our ecosystems.  Professor Boddy comments "Edinburgh and London have had their Royal societies for a long time, and a learned Society for Wales is well overdue. It is an honour and a delight to be elected a Fellow, and I am very much looking forward to the increased opportunities that it will provide for focussing on leading edge science issues."

Professor Michael Bruford FLSW (Head of the Organisms and Environment Division) is a renowned molecular ecologist interested in studying the demographic and evolutionary processes in small and fragmented populations and says " I think this will provide an opportunity for scientists in Wales to put forward their views in a coordinated way to Government and society."

Professor Alun Davies FRSE FMedSci FLSW(Professor of Neurobiology, Molecular Biosciences Division) whose recent research concentrates on the function and mechanism of action of neurotrophic factors said "As a native born Welshman, it is a great privilege and honour to be elected to the Learned Society of Wales in the Society's inaugural election."  

Professor Stephen Dunnett DSc FMedSci FLSW(Professor of Neuroscience, Neuroscience Division) is advancing our understanding of mechanisms of cell death, plasticity and regeneration in the central nervous system to offer new opportunities for remediation and repair in several of the most distressing neurodegenerative diseases of adulthood, in particular Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.  Professor Dunnett commented, "I am absolutely delighted and honoured to join the illustrious Fellowship of Wales' newly formed Learned Society. "

Professor John Harwood DSc FLSW (Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biosciences Division) whose research has focussed on the metabolism and function of acyl lipids, has also said "I am very pleased to receive this honour."

Professor Jim Murray FLSW (Head of the Molecular Biosciences Division) researches plant cellular development and molecular biotechnology said  "I am delighted to be honoured in this way by Welsh colleagues and look forward to contributing to the further development of the Learned Society and its role in academic life and society in Wales."

Professor Ole Petersen CBE FLSW FRS (Medical Research Council Professor in the Pathophysiology and Repair Division and Director of the Cardiff School of Biosciences) who is a pioneer in the calcium signalling field and has recently made major contributions to the understanding of the human disease acute pancreatitis, said "Having only arrived in Wales last year, I am particularly happy to have been elected FLSW, as it represents a welcoming encouragement by the Welsh scientific community. I am keen to foster productive scientific links between the rest of Europe and Wales and, as a member of several European Academies; my election to LSW provides additional opportunities to do so.  "

"Wales has been described as a small but clever country and the quality and breadth of scholarship is evident in the list of Founding Fellows of the LSW.   Learned academies exist in virtually all advanced societies, helping to set the highest international standards in scholarship and research".  Fellows of the LSW will help ensure that Wales' intellectual capability will be properly represented and promoted on the international stage and that its people, policy-makers and businesses have access to well-researched, scholarly and objective advice on issues of key importance.

The society holds events and activities such as lecture series and has special themes that support the world of learning, which are open to all. For more information please visit The Learned Society of Wales website.

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