Skip to content
Fellows Directory

Hugh Pelham

Sir Hugh Pelham FMedSci FRS


Elected: 1988


Hugh Pelham is a cell biologist who has contributed to our understanding of the body’s response to rises in temperature through the synthesis of so-called ‘heat shock proteins’. He is also one of the foremost authorities on the movement of proteins within cells.

Hugh’s work has explained how some proteins can protect cells from damage. He has also shown how cells remove damaged or unwanted proteins — vital for maintaining their healthy functioning. His latest research investigates how proteins are modified and sorted to their correct places within cells and aims to find ways of blocking these processes.

Hugh completed his doctorate studies under Richard Jackson and Tim Hunt, who went on to receive the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Hugh has since been a visiting professor at the University of Zurich and held many posts at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, ultimately becoming its Director. He has won many scientific awards and is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Endocytosis, Ubiquitination


  • Croonian Medal and Lecture

    On 'Intracellular membrane traffic: getting proteins sorted'.

  • Florey Lecture

    On 'The secretion of protein by cells'.

  • King Faisal International Prize

    In the field of biology.

  • Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine

    No citation available for this award.