Internationally-recognised scientist honoured with Royal Society post

Distinguished John Innes Centre scientist Professor Dame Caroline Dean has been awarded a Royal Society Research Professorship.

Professor Dean is one of six world-leading scientists named today as recipients of these prestigious awards.

The professorships provide long-term support for internationally-recognised scientists from diverse areas including biochemistry, genetics, mathematics, chemistry, developmental biology and physics.

The posts are the Royal Society’s premier research awards and help release the best researchers from teaching and administration to allow them to focus on research.

Professor Dean’s research at the John Innes Centre investigates epigenetic controls used by plants to judge when to flower. The project aims to define the core molecular event underpinning an epigenetic switch triggered by cold exposure. This will be achieved through collaboration with colleagues at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge and CSIC-UAM, Madrid. The work will combine molecular, biophysical, structural and computational approaches to provide mechanistic insight relevant for gene regulation in many organisms.

Professor Dean said: “I am honoured and thrilled to be awarded a Royal Society Research Professorship. The questions we will address are particularly exciting and of huge importance to society as epigenetic malfunctioning results in developmental abnormalities including cancer.”

The award is the latest in a string of honours for Professor Dean in a distinguished 30-year career at the John Innes Centre.

A Fellow of the Royal Society and member of the US National Academy, she is currently a 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science laureate of which there are five annual recipients, one representing each continent. Professor Dean received the L’Oréal-UNESCO award in Paris on March 22 on the 20th anniversary of that award.

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.

The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The remaining five 2018 Royal Society Research Professorship appointments are: Professor Manuel del Pino, Universidad de Chile, Chile (award will be held at University of Bath); Professor Clare Grey FRS, University of Cambridge; Professor Nicholas Higham FRS, University of Manchester: Dr Gavin Salam FRS.

Professor Dean has also been honoured by the Biochemical Society, receiving the Novartis Medal and Prize in the society’s awards for 2019. Award and medal lectures will take place in 2019 and award winners will be invited to submit an article to a Biochemical Society-owned publication.

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