Professor Stephen Baker: winner of the Fleming Prize

Posted on April 29, 2020   by Microbiology Society

Each year, the Microbiology Society awards five Prize Lectures in recognition of significant contributions to microbiology. The awards celebrate the outstanding applications of microbiology to research, education and translation and all members are invited to nominate an outstanding microbiologist for a Microbiology Society Prize. We got in touch with former Fleming Prize winner, Professor Stephen Baker, University of Cambridge, to ask a few questions about his award and how this has impacted his research since.

© Stephen Baker


I perform applied microbiology research which aims to link genomic, epidemiological and phenotypic data to better understand how bacterial pathogens evolve, spread and cause infections. The focus of my research has been studying enteric infections (organisms that infect the gastrointestinal tract) and I spent 12 years working in the field in Southeast Asia. This work has contributed new understandings of how bacteria respond to selective pressures, specifically the immune response and antimicrobials.


How has your work developed since winning your Prize?

Since winning the Fleming Prize, I have returned to the UK and become a Director of Research at the University of Cambridge. This has allowed me to develop new technological approaches in using genomics to develop new interventions and I was awarded a Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship in 2019.

What was the highlight of delivering your lecture?

My mother and father attended the talk. They had never seen me present anything before, so that was really great for them and me.

Why do you believe it is important to nominate colleagues for the Society’s Prize Lectures?

Winning such prizes is hugely prestigious and it gives people exposure at really key stages of their careers.

How did you find your overall experience from being nominated for the award to giving your talk?

Initially I thought it was a mistake, but when I realised it was real, I was obviously delighted. The day was quite nerve-wracking but ultimately, I enjoyed my talk and had a few drinks with members of my group in the evening.

Nominations for the 2021 Prize Lectures and the 2022 Prize Medal lecture are now welcomed

To nominate someone for a Prize Lecture, please visit the relevant Prize Lecture page to find out more about its remit, judging criteria and past winners of the Prize. You will also be able to download the nomination form on this page.

After you’ve read the form to determine what to include, you and your fellow nominator should contact the person you’d like to nominate so that you can work with them to complete the nomination form. Nominators should be members of the Society, but the candidate does not have to be one. We have provided example nomination forms to demonstrate the level of detail required for nominations.

To submit your nomination, please email the completed form along with any supporting documentation to [email protected].

If you have any queries, would like to be put in touch with a second nominator, or would like to talk through your ideas for a nomination, you can contact the Microbiology Society Prizes team for support via email at [email protected].