Honorary Members

Honorary Membership is offered by the Society Council to distinguished microbiologists who have made a significant contribution to the science. Honorary Members are eligible to apply to all grant schemes open to Full Members


Professor Sir John P. Arbuthnott

Professor Sir John Arbuthnott joined the Society in 1967, where he served as Group Convener of Pathogenicity (1972–1976), Editor for the Journal of General Microbiology (1980–1983), Council member (1981–1985) and Treasurer (1987–1992). He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2006.

Professor Nigel L. Brown, OBE FRSE Hon DSc

Professor Nigel Brown joined the Society in 1974. He has been an influential member and has held a variety of roles across the Society, including as a member of the Prokaryotic Division, Chair of the Policy Committee, Elected Member of Council and President from 2012 to 2015. He remains involved with many Society activities to date. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2016.

Professor Jeff A. Cole, MA DPhil

Professor Jeff Cole joined the Society in 1972, where he held the role of Group Convener of Physiology and Chemistry (1985–1990), as well as Council Member (2002–2006). He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2011.

Professor Rita R. Colwell, BS MS PhD

Professor Rita Colwell joined the Society in 1960. She was awarded the Society's Prize Medal in 2014. Colwell is an internationally renown scientist and has held multiple advisory positions in the US Government. She was the first female director of the National Science Foundation in the US (1998–2004) and is currently the founder and Chair of CosmosID, as well as a holder of 61 honorary degrees and multiple awards for her scientific work. She was elected to Honorary Membership in 2009.

Professor Julian E. Davies, BSc PhD FRS

Professor Julian Davies joined the Society in 1982. Davies is a Principal Investigator of the Davies Lab at the University of British Columbia, Canada. His research into antibiotics has led to the discovery of antibiotic resistance genes, shaping our current understanding of antibiotic resistance. He has received the American Society for Microbiology and Society for General Microbiology (now the Microbiology Society) Gold Medals and Bristol-Myers Squibb Award. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada as well as Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Davies was elected to Honorary Membership in 2009.

Professor Tom M. Fenchel, PhD DSc

Professor Tom Fenchel joined the Society in 1993 and was elected to Honorary Membership the same year. Fenchel is a Danish marine ecologist whose work has been crucial to the understanding of marine ecology. Fenchel has received multiple awards for his work.

Professor Dame Lesley Anne Glover, CBE BSc MPhil PhD FRSE FAAM

Professor Dame Anne Glover joined the Society in 1984 and became a member of Council in 1995. Glover was the first Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland and held many other advisory positions. She was promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2015. Glover was elected to Honorary Membership in 2011.

Professor John R. Guest, BSc DPhil FRS

Professor John Guest joined the Society in 1961. Guest was a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader, and Professor in Microbiology at the University of Sheffield. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2000.

Professor Bryan D. Harrison, CBE BSc PhD FRSE FRS

Professor Bryan Harrison joined the Society in 1955. He was a Council member (1962–1966) and Editor for the Journal of General Virology (1973–1978). He has made many significant observations in plant virology and led a successful scientific career. Harrison was elected to Honorary Membership in 1990.

Professor Colin R. Harwood, PhD

Professor Colin Harwood joined the Society in 1973. He was a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of General Microbiology (now Microbiology) (1987–1992), member of Council (1993–1996 and 1998–2002), Society Treasurer (2005–2013), as well as Chair of Publishing Committee (2012–2014). He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2015.

Professor Sir David A. Hopwood, MA PhD DSc FRS

Professor Sir David Hopwood joined the Society in 1955. He was elected President of the Society in 2000 (2000-2003). Hopwood was a John Innes Professor of Genetics at the University of East Anglia and is now an Emeritus Fellow in the Department of Molecular Microbiology at the John Innes Centre. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 1990.

Mrs Janet Hurst, BSc MSc MA

Mrs Janet Hurst was responsible for the delivery of a range of Society’s outreach activities for over 20 years and has organised over 50 events and conferences focusing on microbiology. Her contribution to the education of microbiology has had a national and international impact. She became the Managing Editor of Microbiology Today in 1997 and has made a significant contribution to the magazine’s distribution and success. Hurst was elected to Honorary Membership in 2010.

Professor Hilary M. Lappin-Scott, OBE BSc PhD

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott joined the Society in 1984. She was a Group Convener in Environmental Microbiology (1996–2001), member of Council (2000–2004), and Scientific Meetings Officer (2004–2009). In 2009, Lappin-Scott was elected as President of the Society, being the second female president-elect after Marjory Stephenson. She has made outstanding contributions in promoting women in STEM and was awarded a WISE Hero Award by HRH Princess Anne. Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott is now the President of FESM. She was elected to Honorary Membership in 2012.

Professor Anthony C. Minson, BSc PhD

Professor Anthony Minson joined the Society in 1971. He is best known for his work on the biology of herpesviruses. He was a member of Council from 1990 to 1994 and from 2003 to 2007. From 2003 to 2009 Minson was the Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2011.

Professor John G. Morris, CBE DPhil FIBiol FRS

Professor John Morris joined the Society in 1955. Morris’ research focused on obligate anaerobic bacteria and has greatly contributed to the growing interest in the exploitation of such organisms. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 1997.

Professor Sir Paul Nurse, BSc PhD FRS

Professor Sir Paul Nurse joined the Society in 1989. Nurse was knighted in 1999 and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries of proteins that regulate cell division in 2001. Nurse was also elected as President of The Royal Society in 2010 and is a recipient of Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine, Royal Medal, Lasker award, Copley Medal, and Albert Einstein World Award of Science, among other awards and honours. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2004.

Professor Sir John R. Pattison, MA DM FRCPath

Professor Sir John Pattison joined the Society in 1976. Pattison held many various offices throughout his career, such as Chairman of the MRC Physiological Medicine and Infection Board, Founder Fellow and Member of Council of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Chairman of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory and many other. Pattison was elected to the Society's Council in 1981 and as Group Convener for Clinical Virology in 1982. He was knighted for his services to Medicine and Public Health in 1998 and later appointed Director of Research and Development in the Department of Health in 2000 as well as elected to Honorary Membership.

Professor Thomas H. Pennington, MB BS PhD FRCPath FRCPEdin FRSA FMedSci FRSE

Professor Thomas Pennington joined the Society in 1976. Pennington was appointed Chair of Bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen in 1979 and was Dean of the medical school from 1987 to 1992. He was elected President of the Society in 2003 and held the position for three years. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering. Pennington was elected to Honorary Membership in 2006.

Professor David Rowlands

Professor David Rowlands joined the Society in 1972. He served as Chairman of Scientific Advisory Boards and Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Singvax Pte. He was appointed Principle Research Scientist at the Wellcome Foundation in 1987 and held the position until 2005. Rowlands was elected to Honorary Membership in 2019.

Doctor John W. Schollar, BSc PGCE Doctor Honoris Causa (Göteborg) FRSB 

Dr. John Schollar has been working at the NCBE since 1986. He has been actively involved in the education of microbiology for over 30 years, delivering lectures and practicals around the UK and Europe, as well as participating in a range of Society projects, such as Antibiotics Unearthed. He was a Co-Director of The National Centre for Biotechnology Education before he retired in 2016. Schollar is an Honorary staff member at the University of Reading and Vice-Chairman of MiSAC. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2017.

Sir John J. Skehel, PhD FRS FMedSci

Sir John Skehel joined the Society in 1973. He was a member of Council from 1975 to 1979 and an Editor for the Journal of General Virology from 1975 to 1980. Skehel was awarded the Wilhelm Feldberg Prize, Robert Koch Prize, Louis-Jeantet Prize in Medicine, the ICN International Prize in Virology, and the Royal Medal. He was knighted in 1996 and elected to Honorary Membership in 2005.

Professor Volker ter Meulen, MD

Professor Volker ter Meulen joined the Society in 1975. Ter Meulen was President of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina – National Academy of Sciences. He is known for pioneering work in neurovirology as well as advocating science policy. He is a recipient of many awards for his research, such as Bavarian Order of Merit, gold Robert Koch medal, Order of Merit of Saxony-Anhalt, as well as several honorary titles. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2008.

Professor A. 'Tony' P. J. Trinci, DSc FIBiol

Professor Tony Trinci joined the Society in 1965. He is an expert in fungal cytology and physiology and was the first Chairman of the School of Biological Sciences. Trinci was a member of Council between 1979 and 1981. He later became an editor of the Journal of General Microbiology (now Microbiology) in 1990 and held the position for 4 years. He was elected President of the Society in 1994 and awarded Honorary Membership in 2000.

Professor Robert Anthony 'Robin' Weiss, PhD FRCPath FRS

Professor Robin Weiss joined the Society in 1968. Weiss is recognised for his ground-breaking research around HIV. His work has been widely recognised as he was elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation and later became a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2001, Weiss was awarded the M.W.Beijernick Prize for Virology and delivered the Leeuwenhoek Lecture. In 2018, he was chosen to be a member of the American Philosophical Society, becoming one of the very few microbiologists in the organisation. Weiss was elected President of the Society from 2006 to 2009, after which he was elected to Honorary Membership.

Professor Roger Whittenbury, CBE MSc PhD

Professor Roger Whittenbury joined the Society in 1960. Whittenbury was a Research Fellow at Stanford University before he became a Professor of Biology at the University of Warwick. He was elected to Council in 1977 and held the position until 1981. He was President of the Society from 1981 to 1984 and was elected to Honorary Membership in 2000.