9 May 2009

Professor Nick Harberd elected Fellow of the Royal Society

Former John Innes Centre scientist Professor Nick Harberd has been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, in recognition of his exceptional contributions to science.

Nick Harberd’s research at the John Innes Centre made pioneering contributions to the solution of a fundamental problem in biology, the molecular mechanisms via which plant hormones control growth. He showed that the hormone gibberellin promotes growth by counteracting a family of nuclear growth-repressing proteins, and that this provides a key mechanism for adaptive regulation of growth in response to environmental change.

He also showed how this mechanism underlies the action of genes responsible for the increase in yield of wheat varieties during the 'green revolution'. His discoveries have thus provided many important and original contributions to organismal, evolutionary and agricultural science. In 2007 Nick was elected as the Sibthorpian Professor of Plant Science and Fellow of St. John's College, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford.

In the Royal Society announcement, Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society, said: "Our new Fellows are at the cutting edge of science worldwide. Their achievements represent the vast contribution science makes to society. They join an outstanding group of over 1400 Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society, and all rank among the international leaders in their field."

Each year the Royal Society awards Fellowships to 44 of the best scientists in recognition of their scientific achievements. It is the highest accolade a scientist can have, short of a Nobel prize.

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