New Year’s Honours recognition for Professor Anne Osbourn FRS

Professor Anne Osbourn has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to plant science.

The honour adds to a memorable year in the career of Professor Osbourn who in April 2019 was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the 30th FRS in the history of the John Innes Centre.

It’s also been a memorable 12 months for the wider Osbourn family – Anne’s sister Dr Jane Osbourn, a former John Innes Centre PhD student, was also awarded an OBE in the 2019 Birthday Honours list for services to drug discovery, development and biotechnology.

“It’s a great honour to have another OBE in the family,” says Anne. “Our mother is thrilled.”

Professor Osbourn’s research focuses on plant natural products and her research has opened up new pathways to chemistry of agronomic and medicinal importance.

She completed her PhD at Birmingham University before moving to the John Innes Centre in 1985 as a postdoctoral scientist at a time when her sister was also at the centre as a PhD student in the group of Professor George Lomonossoff.

She has been an associate research director of the John Innes Centre; was one of the leaders of the first rounds of Institute Strategic Programmes (ISPs) and spent many years in research and leadership roles at The Sainsbury Laboratory.

Director of the John Innes Centre Professor Dale Sanders FRS said: “I’m delighted that Anne’s pioneering work in plant natural product biosynthesis and her enormous contribution to the John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory and the Norwich Research Park has been honoured in this way.”

Professor Osbourn holds many leadership roles including directorships of OpenPlant, a £12m BBSRC/EPSRC-funded Synthetic Biology Research Centre led jointly by the University of Cambridge and the John Innes Centre, and the Norwich Research Park Industrial Biotechnology Alliance.

She is also a trustee of the New Phytologist Trust and founder of the Science, Art and Writing (SAW) Trust, an international charity that promotes innovation in science communication.

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