Prize Medal Winners

Prize Medal Winners


Professor Wendy Barclay

Imperial College London, UK

Perspectives on pandemics

"I am still completely overwhelmed by it! I have looked up the previous winners and they are all very prestigious scientists, so I am very grateful to the people that nominated me. Multiple times in the past this award has been won by scientists from overseas, so if this is the start of a trend in celebrating UK microbiologists then I am very happy to be at the front of it."
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Professor Bonnie Bassler

Princeton University, USA

Quorum sensing across domains: from viruses to bacteria to eukaryotes

“I am surprised, delighted, and honoured to receive the Microbiology Society Prize Medal. I am grateful to and proud of the many scientists who have come through my lab to go on this scientific adventure with me! It has been a privilege and thrilling to work with the team as they try to change the perception of bacteria from being thought of as asocial loners to being considered sophisticated interacting organisms that, by acting as collectives, can have a profound influence on nature, health, and disease. The Microbiology Society Prize Medal is a spectacular recognition of my lab team’s creativity, tenacity, and belief that bacteria still house many important mysteries and so they are worthy of us devoting our professional lives to exploring them.”
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Professor Joan Steitz

Yale University, CT, USA

Viral noncoding RNAs: approaching answers

“I was surprised and am extremely honoured to be the recipient of this prize from the Microbiology Society. Britain and British science have occupied a special spot in my heart ever since I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory for Molecular Biology in Cambridge in 1967–70. So much of my subsequent life and science were shaped by my experiences there. In Cambridge, I was privileged to have known and interacted with many of the giants in the early days of molecular biology. Perhaps it is not surprising that I have spent my career trying to emulate them, both as scientists and as people. I am very grateful. Thank you so very much.”
Image credit: Robert Lisak


Professor Martin Blaser

Rutgers University, USA

Antibiotics at the crossroads

“I am most honoured to receive the Prize Medal, and humbled to join the illustrious list of recipients. Receiving the Prize also means that the theories and experimental work that I have been working on are beginning to be recognised in the wider world of ideas as being true and having utility. For all of these reasons, I am grateful to the Society.”


Christof Fellman on behalf of Professor Jennifer Doudna

University of California, USA

Discovering and developing next-generation CRISPR-Cas tools

"I'd like to thank everybody involved in this work, especially Jennifer Doudna, who gave me the opportunity to do my postdoc with her – it was such a tremendous opportunity."


Professor Jill Banfield FRS

University of California, USA

Metagenomics provides a new view of the tree of life and the roles of candidate phyla bacteria and archaea in subsurface biogeochemistry

“The prize is a remarkable honor but of course it largely recognises the fantastic work of students, postdocs and staff that I have had the honor of working with. It means a great deal to me that the broader microbiology community finds value in the genome-resolved metagenomic research we have been doing over the last almost two decades.”


Professor Michael Rossmann

A personal history of structural virology

“It means a lot. It’s very pleasant to have other people recognise the significance of your work and to know that you’re doing useful things”


Professor Philippe Sansonetti

Pasteur Institute, France

Decrypting microbe–host signals in the intestinal crypt: from homeostasis to pathology

"British science and microbiology is such a big thing for me and being recognized at this level is really a great thing – thank you very much."


Sir David Baulcombe FRS

University of Cambridge, UK

The small RNA link in antiviral defense and epigenetics

“The Microbiology Society has been my virological home. I came into virology very naive – I really had no background in it at all. We published some of our first papers in the Journal of General Virology and the Society meetings introduced me to the virology community. To get an award from a Society that has helped me so much means an awful lot.”



Professor Rita Colwell

University of Maryland, USA

Climate change, oceans, and infectious disease: Cholera pandemics as a model

“It’s a tremendous pleasure to be recognised by the Society. I’ve been a member of SGM ever since I was a graduate student, so for about 50 years;  it’s a society I’ve always had high respect for – I think the SGM’s journals and activities are of the highest quality. I’m truly delighted and honoured.”


Emeritus Professor Harald zur Hausen

German Cancer Research Center

Infections causing human cancers: why do some ubiquitous infections mainly cause regional cancers?

Image credit: iStock/vitanovski


Emeritus Professor Julian Davies FRS

Molecules, Microbes and Me

Image credit: iStock/selvanegra


Sir David Hopwood FRS

John Innes Centre, UK

Streptomyces genomics: new routes to antibiotic discovery

Image credit: David Hopwood


Sir Paul Nurse FRS

Francis Crick Institute

Controlling the Cell Cycle

Image credit: Paul Nurse
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Stanley B. Prusiner

University of California, USA

Prion Biology and Disease

Image credit: iStock/Dr_Microbe