Outstanding scientists elected as Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society

09 May 2022

More than 60 exceptional scientists from around the world have been elected Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society. The 51 Fellows and 10 Foreign Members along with one Honorary Fellow have been selected for their outstanding contributions to science. Their work spans multiple disciplines, from using AI to better detect strokes to developing new technologies for improved energy storage and expanding our understanding of genetic cancer risk factors in non-European populations. 

As well as excellence in research, many of this year’s intake have made outstanding contributions in industry, policy and higher education.

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said: “It is an honour to welcome so many outstanding researchers from around the world into the Fellowship of the Royal Society. 

“Through their careers so far, these researchers have helped further our understanding of human disease, biodiversity loss and the origins of the universe. I am also pleased to see so many new Fellows working in areas likely to have a transformative impact on our society over this century, from new materials and energy technologies to synthetic biology and artificial intelligence. I look forward to seeing what great things they will achieve in the years ahead.”

Among this year’s Fellows and Foreign Members:

Sandra Knapp is elected as a Fellow, she has made major contributions to our understanding of plant evolution and tropical biodiversity, and has been a ceaseless public advocate for its conservation and appreciation. Ros Rickaby also becomes a Fellow and has made fundamental advances in understanding the evolution of the Earth’s surface, and the processes that continue to shape our environment today. Carlos Nobre joins as a Foreign Member; he is recognised for his work on biosphere-atmosphere interactions and the climate impacts of Amazon deforestation and his leadership of programmes that have shaped Brazilian science. Rachel Wood has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the origin and evolution of important reef ecosystems, she becomes a Fellow. She is also among six alumni from the Society’s prestigious University Research Fellowship and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship schemes represented in this year’s intake of new Fellows.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, has been made an Honorary Fellow in recognition of an outstanding career which has benefitted health worldwide. Menelas Pangalos joins the Fellowship having made outstanding contributions to applied life science as an academic neuroscientist and a pharmaceutical leader who has transformed AstraZeneca’s R&D pipeline. Andrew Rambaut also joins as a Fellow. He spearheaded the use of pathogen genome sequences to track, understand and respond to virus epidemics – work that has proved transformative during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yvonne Rogers is elected a Fellow for her pioneering contributions to the field of Ubiquitous Computing – interactive technologies and objects which can enhance our daily work and activities. Joining her as Fellows are Ilya Sutskever, who has been a major contributor to several of the most disruptive advances in artificial intelligence, from object recognition to natural language processing; and Paul Seymour, a renowned graph theorist whose vast and definitive contributions to structural graph theory have rewritten the textbooks of the area

Elected as Fellows, Richard Gilbertson has transformed our understanding of the origins and pathogenesis paediatric brain tumours, improving their classifiction and treatment and providing new theraputic targets. Kate Storey has made seminal discoveries about embryonic development of the vertebrate spinal cord. Peter Goadsby has laid the scientific foundations for research into migraine and headaches, interrogating their mechanisms and developing new treatments. Irene Miguel-Aliaga has transformed our understanding of how organs communicate with one another and the importance of the gut-brain axis for regulating metabolism. Her insights have implications for the treatment and prevention of metabolic illnesses, such as diabetes and obesity, and may help explain why some diseases are more common in women, and why men and women respond differently to therapies. 

Zeblon Vilakazi has made significant contributions to nuclear and particle physics in experiments at CERN and, as Vice Chancellor at the University of the Witwatersrand, has continued to build capacity for experimental particle physics and quantum computing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Chemist Richard Robson founded the field of metallic organic frameworks (MOFs), tailor-made structures with a range of applications in areas such as gas sorption and catalysis. He becomes a Fellow. Michael Thackeray joins the Fellowship for the discovery, design, and development of lithium metal oxide electrodes for lithium-ion battery systems – including technologies likely to be widely adopted in electric vehicles over the next decade. Michael Graetzel has been elected as a Foreign Member for his advances in photovoltaic technology, which are improving the yields of solar hydrogen generation using cheap and abundant light absorbers.

 Also elected as Foreign Members, George Gao, whose contributions in the field of infection and immunity, particularly relating to emerging viral infections, have helped to improve our understanding of major threats to human health, and Maria Leptin, whose leadership in European science – currently as President of the European Research Council – builds on her research contributions across fields from immunity to genetics.

This year’s Fellows and Foreign Members join the ranks of Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Lise Meitner, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Dorothy Hodgkin. 

Statistics about this year’s intake of Fellows:

  • 23.5% of this year’s intake of Fellows and Foreign Members are women
  • New Fellows have been elected from across the UK including, Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, London, Loughborough, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton and Strathclyde and from around the world including Australia, Germany, South Africa and the USA
  • Alumni from the Society’s University Research Fellowship (URF) and Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship (DHF) schemes are: Professor Andrew Harrison, URF,1988; Professor Susan Lea, DHF, 1995; Professor Oliver Pybus, URF, 2004; Andrew Rambaut, URF, 2001; Rachel Wood, URF, 1994 and Benjamin Sheldon, URF, 2000

The full list of the newly elected Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society is, in alphabetical order:

New Fellows

Professor Fernando Alday FRS
Professor, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford

Dr Simon Boulton FMedSci FRS
Principal Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute

Professor Graham Burton FMedSci FRS
Mary Marshall and Arthur Walton Professor Emeritus of the Physiology of Reproduction, University of Cambridge

Professor Jason Chin FMedSci FRS
Head, Centre for Chemical and Synthetic Biology, and Joint Head, Division of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology; Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge; Associate Faculty in Synthetic Genomics, Wellcome Sanger Institute and Fellow in Natural Sciences, Trinity College, Cambridge

Professor Roberto Cipolla FREng FRS
Professor of Information Engineering, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Professor Martin Dawson FRS
Professor, Institute of Photonics, Department of Physics, University of Strathclyde

Professor Douglas Easton FMedSci FRS
Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge

Professor Robin Franklin FMedSci FRS
Principal Investigator, Altos Labs - Cambridge Institute

Professor Pierre Friedlingstein FRS
Professor, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter

Dr Eileen Furlong FRS
Head of Department, Genome Biology Deptartment/Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Germany

Professor Vincent Fusco FREng FRS
Professor of High Frequency Electronic Engineering, Director of Research EEECS, Queen's University Belfast

Professor Richard Gilbertson FMedSci FRS
Li Ka Shing Chair of Oncology and Head of Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, Director of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre and Senior Group Leader, CRUK Cambridge Institute

Professor Peter Goadsby FMedSci FRS

Director, NIHR-Wellcome Trust King’s Clinical Research Facility and Professor of Neurology, King’s College London

Professor Alain Goriely FRS
Statutory Chair of Mathematical Modelling, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford

Dr Alexander Gould FMedSci FRS
Principal Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute

Professor Andrew Harrison OBE FRS
CEO, Diamond Light Source Ltd

Professor Jane Hillston FRS

Professor and Head of School, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Professor Peter Hore FRS
Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford

Professor Nicholas Jennings CB FREng FRS
Vice-Chancellor and President, Loughborough University

Dr Sandra Knapp FRS
Research Botanist, Natural History Museum, London

Professor Susan Lea FMedSci FRS
Chief and Senior Investigator, Center for Structural Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, United States

Professor Paul Lehner FMedSci FRS
Professor of Immunology and Medicine, Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease, University of Cambridge

Professor Andrew Livingston FREng FRS
Vice Principal Research and Innovation and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Queen Mary University of London

Professor Juergen Maier CBE FREng FRS
Chair, Manchester Graphene Company, University of Manchester

Professor Roberto Maiolino FRS
Professor of Experimental Astrophysics, Cavendish Laboratory and Kavli Institute for Cosmology, University of Cambridge, and Honorary Professor at University College London

Professor Oscar Marín FMedSci FRS

Professor of Neuroscience and Director, MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Director, Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King’s College London

Professor Angelos Michaelides FRS
1968 Professor of Chemistry, Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge

Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga FMedSci FRS

Professor of Genetics and Physiology, Imperial College London and MRC Investigator, MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences

Professor Mark Newman FRS
Anatol Rapoport Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan, United States

Professor Rachel O'Reilly FRS
Professor of Chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham

Sir Menelas Pangalos FMedSci FRS
Executive Vice President and President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca

Professor Robert Pressey FRS
Professor, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia

Professor Trevor Price FRS
Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, United States

Professor Oliver Pybus FRS

Professor of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, London and Professor of Evolution and Infectious Disease, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Professor Jordan Raff FMedSci FRS
César Milstein Chair of Cancer Cell Biology, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford

Professor Andrew Rambaut FRS
Chair of Molecular Evolution, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Professor Ros Rickaby FRS
Chair of Geology, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Professor Richard Robson FRS
Professorial Fellow, School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne, Australia

Professor Yvonne Rogers FRS
Professor of Interaction Design, UCLIC Director and Deputy Head,  Computer Science Department, University College London

Professor Jamie Rossjohn FMedSci FRS
Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University, Australia

Professor Paul Seymour FRS
Alfred Baldwin Dod Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, Princeton University, United States

Professor Ben Sheldon FRS
Luc Hoffmann Professor of Field Ornithology, Department of Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Professor Ian Shipsey FRS
Henry Moseley Centenary Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Oxford

Professor Kate Storey FMedSci FRS
Head, Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee

Dr Ilya Sutskever FRS
Co-Founder and Chief Scientist of OpenAI

Dr Michael Thackeray FRS
Argonne Emeritus Scientist and Distinguished Fellow, Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, Argonne National Laboratory, United States

Professor Zeblon Vilakazi FRS
Vice Chancellor, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Professor Carola G. Vinuesa FRS
Royal Society Wolfson Fellow, Principal Group Leader and Professor of Immunology, Francis Crick Institute and Australian National University

Professor Vaclav Vitek FRS
Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Applied Science, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, United States

Professor Sally Ward FRS
Director of Translational Immunology, Cancer Sciences Unit, Centre for Cancer Immunology, University of Southampton

Professor Rachel Wood FRS
Professor of Carbonate Geoscience, Grant Institute, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh

Honorary Fellowship

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus FRS
Director General, World Health Organisation

Foreign Membership

Dr Charles Bennett ForMemRS
Fellow, IBM Research Division

Professor Donald Canfield ForMemRS
Professor, Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Professor Titia de Lange ForMemRS
Leon Hess Professor, Laboratory for Cell Biology and Genetics, Rockefeller University, United States

Professor George Gao ForMemRS

Director-General, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Vice President, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Director and Professor, CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogen Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Professor Michael Graetzel ForMemRS
Professor and Director. Laboratory for Phtonics and Interfaces, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Professor Hiroshi Hamada ForMemRS
Team Leader, RIKEN Center for Biosystems and Dynamics Research, Japan

Professor Maria Leptin ForMemRS
Professor of Genetics, Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne and President of the European Research Council (ERC)

Professor Carlos Nobre ForMemRS
Senior Researcher, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of São Paulo, Science Director, Institute of Climate Studies, Federal University of Espírito Santo and Director of the Amazon Third Way Initiative/Amazonia 4.0 Project, Brazil

Professor Peter Scholze ForMemRS
Director, Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik, Germany

Professor Howard Stone ForMemRS
Donald R Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University, United States