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Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture

Virus particle (green) being pushed by a red actin tail away from the surface of an infected cell. Credit winner of the Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture 2020, Professor Geoffrey Smith.

The award

The Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture is awarded to recognise excellence in the field of microbiology but now also includes excellence in bacteriology, virology, mycology and parasitology, and microscopy. The lectureship was named after the Dutch microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek FRS, often referred to as the ‘Father of Microbiology’, and is supported by a bequest from George Gabb. Originally it was held annually, and from 2006 to 2018 it was awarded triennially, but it is now awarded biennially. The lecture was first given in 1950. The medal is of bronze, is awarded biennially and is accompanied by a gift of £2,000.


The call for nominations is now closed. The next round of nominations will open in November 2022.

Past winners

Proffesor Geoffrey Smith FMedSci FRS will be awarded the Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture for his studies of poxviruses which has had major impact in wider areas, notably vaccine development, biotechnology, host-pathogen interactions and innate immunity.

Professor Sarah Cleaveland OBE FRS was awarded the Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture in 2018 for her pioneering work towards the eradication of rabies throughout the world.

Professor Jeffrey Errington FMedSci FRS was awarded the Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture in 2015 for his seminal discoveries in relation to the cell cycle and cell morphogenesis in bacteria which helped to found the field of bacterial cell biology. 

See full list of all past winners of the Leeuwenhoek Medal and Lecture.


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