Fleming Prize Winners

Since the award was instituted, 44 early career microbiologists have been awarded the Fleming Prize and many of them have gone on to achieve distinguished careers, honours and in one case (Paul Nurse) a Nobel Prize.

Find out more about what winning the Fleming Prize meant to them and how it helped them to establish themselves as early career microbiologists below. 

Fleming Prize Lecture Winners

2020

Professor Edze Westra

University of Exeter, UK

“I am absolutely delighted to have been selected for the 2020 Fleming Prize, the oldest accolade of the Microbiology Society. It is a huge and unexpected honour to be recognised in this way for my work on the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary ecology of CRISPR-Cas systems. I would like to thank the Microbiology Society for this prestigious award and the University of Exeter for their support during my research trajectory. I also want to acknowledge my talented lab members and collaborators whose dedication, persistence and creativity have formed the foundation for this award.”

2019

Professor Peter Fineran

University of Otago, New Zealand

Resistance is (not) futile: bacterial innate and adaptive immune systems

“I was really delighted and honoured to get the news that I will receive the Fleming Prize. Research is a such team effort, so I want to acknowledge many talented lab members and collaborators – past and present.”

2018

Dr Sarah Coulthurst

University of Dundee, UK

How to kill your rivals: type VI secretion system-mediated bacterial warfare

“I was delighted to hear that I have been awarded the Fleming Prize. I have been a member of the Microbiology Society since the beginning of my PhD and have been inspired and supported by the community it represents ever since. Therefore, receiving this award is a great honour.”

2017

Professor Stephen Baker

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit

The collateral damage of antimicrobial access in Asia

“Winning the Fleming Prize from the Microbiology Society is an unexpected but fantastic honour. Looking down the list at previous winners is pretty intimidating, but I hope I can continue my work and follow a similar career path."

2016

Professor David Grainger

University of Birmingham, UK

The unexpected complexity of bacterial genomes

“Winning this award is an immense honour and a reflection on the hard work of many individuals over numerous years. I admire many of previous Fleming Prize lecturers and hope to make an equally important contribution to the field of microbiology over the course of my career.”

2015

Professor Michael Brockhurst

University of Sheffield, UK

Rapid microbial evolution: From the lab to the clinic and back again

Image credit: iStock/selvanegra

2014

Professor Nikolay Zenkin

Newcastle University, UK

Multiple personalities of RNA polymerase active centre

“I looked at the list of previous winners and saw that a couple of them were Nobel laureates – I’m very proud. It’s my first big prize so I’m delighted with the recognition.”
Image credit: iStock/selvanegra

2012

Associate Professor William Hanage

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, USA

Plagues and Populations - Patterns of Pathogen Evolution

“To be awarded this prize is really a very great honour, especially as some of the previous recipients are people I admire and respect most in science. I’m especially pleased because Brian (Spratt) my postdoc advisor won this prize thirty years ago.”

2011

Professor Peter Cherepanov

Imperial College London, UK

 

Structural Biology of Retroviral DNA Integration

Image credit: iStock/Rost-9D

2010

Dr Steve Diggle

Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Microbial Communication and Virulence: Lessons from Evolutionary Theory

Image credit: iStock/alice-photo

2009

Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall

University of Dundee, UK

The Complexity of Biofilm Formation by Bacillus subtilis

“I am very pleased and honoured to receive this award from the Microbiology Society. Understanding how bacteria form biofilms is a large and expanding field and I am extremely grateful that my own research contributions have received this accolade at this stage of my career.”

2008

Professor Cameron Simmons

Monash University, Australia

Understanding Emerging Pathogens: H5N1 Influenza and Dengue in Vietnam

Image credit: iStock/ClaudioVentrella

2007

Professor Greg Challis

University of Warwick

Mining Microbial Genomes for New Natural Products and Biosynthetic Pathways

“It was a great honour as somebody who was trained as an organic chemist and so I was very grateful to the Microbiology Society for accepting the research from other disciples in order to make positive contributions to microbiology”

2006

Professor Frank Sargent

Newcastle University, UK

Constructing the Wonders of the Bacterial World: Biosynthesis of Complex Enzymes

Image credit: iStock/selvanegra

2005

Professor Adrian Whitehouse

University of Leeds, UK

Understanding the Latent-Lytic Switch in Gamma-2 Herpesviruses

“I am very pleased and honoured to receive this award from the Microbiology Society. Understanding how bacteria form biofilms is a large and expanding field and I am extremely gratified that my own research contributions have received this accolade at this stage of my career.”

2004

Dr Mark Paget

University of Sussex, UK

Managing Redox Stress in Bacteria

Image credit: iStock/SPL

2003

Professor Chris Boshoff

Pfizer Oncology

AIDS-associated Cancer and KSHV/HHV-8

Image credit: iStock/Artem_Egorov

2002

Professor Tracy Palmer FRS and Professor Ben Berks

Newcastle University, UK and University of Oxford, UK

Moving Folded Proteins Across the Bacterial Cell Membrane

"We had two separate ideas that turned out to be the same. It was just amazing, a highlight of your scientific career, to be recognized as an independent scientist and for other people to recognize the importance of that discovery."

2001

Professor Brendan Kelly

University of Pennsylvania, USA

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli - a Crafty, Subversive Little Bug

Image credit: iStock/Dr Microbe

2000

Professor Peter Simmonds

University of Oxford, UK

The Origin and Evolution of Hepatitis Viruses in Humans

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1999

Professor David Richardson

University of East Anglia, UK

Bacterial Respiration: a Flexible Process for a Changing Environment

“Winning the Fleming Prize was probably the proudest moment of my research career. It gave me self-belief and the confidence to try out new ideas and forge new collaborations.”

1997

Professor Colin J. Stirling

Finders University, Australia

Protein Targeting to the Endoplasmic Reticulum in Yeast

Image credit: SPL/Kateryna Kon 

1996

Professor Antony Carr

University of Sussex, UK

Cell Division and Mitosis in the Fission Yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe

Image credit: iStock/jarun011

1995

Professor Jane McKeating

University of Oxford, UK

Biological consequences of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope polymorphism: does variation matter?

Image credit: iStock/Rost-9D

1994

Professor Charles Dorman

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

DNA Topology and the Global Regulation of Bacterial Virulence Gene Expression

Image credit: Guillermo Pérez

1994

Professor Ian Roberts

University of Manchester, UK

Bacterial Polysaccharides in Sickness and in Health

"Winning the Fleming Prize had a dramatic effect. On a personal level I felt it was the first recognition I had received from my peers and professionally it opened doors for my promotion."

1993

Professor Neil Gow FRS

University of Exeter, UK

Directional Growth and Guidance Systems of Fungal Pathogens

"Winning the Fleming prize was a major event in my early career. The exposure helped me to build my network of collaborators, which was perhaps even more valuable at a time that predated the era of electronic communication and social media."

1992

Professor Geoffrey L. Smith FRS

University of Cambridge, UK

Vaccinia Virus Glycoproteins and Immune Evasion

Image credit: Geoffrey L. Smith

1991

Professor Lynne Boddy

Cardiff University, UK

The Ecology of Wood- and Litter-rotting Basidiomycete Fungi

"As a young lecturer winning the Fleming Prize was very important to me. The previous year I had won the equivalent award from the British Mycological Society, so I knew that mycologists thought that my work was interesting. Winning the Fleming prize meant that microbiologists in general thought that my research was valuable. This inspired me to keep on asking questions about a group of organisms that are crucial to the way that the ecosystems of our planet work, despite most people not realising this."

1989

Professor G.J. Boulnois

Molecular Dissection of the Host-Microbe Interaction in Infection

Image credit: iStock/PhonlamaiPhoto

1989

Dr Andrew Davison

University of Bristol, UK

Varicella-Zoster Virus

Iage credit: iStock/Design Cells

1988

Professor Gordon Dougan FRS

University of Cambridge, UK

An Oral Route to Rational Vaccination

“I was working in industry when I won the Fleming Award and it was marvellous to get the boost of this academic recognition at the time. It encouraged me to stay close to my scientific goals.”

1987

Professor Christopher Higgins

Durham University, UK

Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Transport: from Microbes to Man

“Receiving the prize was a personal honour and provided external validation that my research was making a difference at an early stage in my career. The award gave microbiology a prominence it might not otherwise have had.”

1986

Professor Douglas Kell

University of Liverpool, UK

Forces, Fluxes and Control of Microbial Metabolism

"A welcome recognition that microbiology was ready to move from a qualitative to a quantative science (my title was: Kell DB: Forces, fluxes and the control of microbial growth and metabolism, The twelfth Fleming lecture. Journal of General Microbiology 1987; 133: 1651-1665.”

1985

Professor Jeffrey Almond

OSIVAX, France

Genetic Diversity in Small RNA Viruses

Image credit: Jeffrey Almond

1984

Sir Paul Nurse FRS

Francis Crick Institute, UK

Cell Cycle Control in Yeast

“1985 was a time of major transition for me. I was awarded the Fleming Prize and after 12 years of being employed on short-term grants and fellowships, I got a tenured position in the Imperial Cancer Research Fund’s Lincolns Inn Fields Laboratory, and for the first time my research became well supported.”

1983

Professor Ray Dixon FRS

John Innes Centre, UK

The Genetic Complexity of Nitrogen Fixation Herpes Siplex and The Herpes Complex

"I felt deeply honoured to be awarded the Fleming Prize. It reassured me that I was making an impact and was an important stepping stone towards the pursuit of exciting new challenges ahead."
Image credit: iStock/Dr_Microbe

1983

Professor Robert Honess

The Herpes Complex: Diverse Observations and a Unifying Hypothesis.

Image credit: iStock/CreVis2

1982

Professor Brian Spratt FRS

Imperial College London, UK

Penicillin-binding Proteins and the Future of ß-Lactam Antibiotics

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1981

Professor David Sherratt

University of Oxford, UK

The Maintenance and Propagation of Plasmid Genes in Bacterial Populations

“It gave me the confidence that I was on the 'right track' as a Molecular detective passionate about DNA and Chromosomes”

1980

Professor Duncan James McGeoch

Structural Analysis of Animal Virus Genomes

Image credit: iStock/kirstypargeter

1979

Sir John Beringer CBE

University of Bristol, UK

The Development of Rhizobium Genetics

"For me, the Fleming Award came at a turning point in my life and in much biological science. Put crudely, and surely to upset many excellent scientists, an era of clone and sequence to answer "all" biological questions arrived. Thank you for enabling me to celebrate an extremely exciting and rewarding period in my life."
Image credit: iStock/weisschr

1978

Professor George A. M. Cross FRS

Immunochemical Aspects of Antigenic Variation in Trypanosomes

Image credit: SPL

1977

Professor Peter Newell

Cellular Communication During Aggregation of Dictyostelium

"In 1977 the Fleming Prize Lecture was a new prize with the aim to encourage early career scientists to pursue a career in microbiology at a time when it seemed that it might be swamped by other related disciplines. I am grateful to the Society for their recognition of my early work as it gave me additional confidence in trying to project my microbial studies to the wider biological community."

1976

Professor Graham William Gooday

Biosynthesis of the Fungal Wall – Mechanisms and Implications

The winner of the 1976 Fleming Prize was Professor Graham William Gooday, University of Aberdeen, UK.
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