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The 2020 Marjory Stephenson Prize is awarded to Professor Julian Parkhill FRS, from the University of Cambridge.

Professor Parkhill is known for his research on bacterial genomes, which he has worked on since the very earliest days of genomics. Initially analysing reference genomes for many important human and animal pathogens, his group moved on to comparative genomics and subsequently large-scale population genomics, as new technologies developed. He has primarily focused his analysis on the evolution of bacterial pathogens; their origin, transmission and adaptation to selective pressure. His current work uses large-scale population genomics to identify the global origin and routes of spread of human and animal pathogens. His group has addressed adaption to the host, to antibiotics and to vaccine pressure, most recently developing new bacterial genome-wide association approaches to identify genetic determinants responsible for this adaptation and collaborating on the implementation of genomics in clinical microbiology.

He said of the award; “I am delighted and honoured to receive this prize from the Microbiology Society. Our work is fundamentally collaborative, and during my career I have been privileged to work with some of the finest microbiologists in the world, many of them members of this Society. Nothing I have done would have been possible without their help, and I am very grateful to them all. Since my PhD, coming to the Society’s meetings has been an essential part of my education and my research, and I am sure this will continue.”

The Marjory Stephenson Prize is named after Society founding member and former President Marjory Stephenson. The Prize is awarded to an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the discipline of microbiology. The recipient is awarded £1,000.

Date awarded

08 November 2019

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