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Fellows Directory

John Savill

John Savill

Sir John Savill FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2013


John Savill is a clinician scientist distinguished for his insights into the molecular processes of inflammation. John’s most-cited work defined the signals emitted by dying cells, and the molecular sensors and tools used by scavenger cells to selectively target and destroy them.

Inflammation is a vital protective response that helps us fight infection and injury. However, chronic inflammation can lead to ill health, including coronary heart disease. John’s careful studies revealed how the immune system’s scavenger cells recognise cells that are dying, engulfing and digesting them to dampen the inflammatory response.

Alongside his personal research achievements, John has been a high-profile and influential figure in promoting and protecting UK research excellence. Between 2008 and 2010, John was Chief Scientist for the Scottish Government Health Directorates, before becoming Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. He was knighted in 2008 for services to clinical science.

Professional positions

Regius Professor of Medical Science, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Health and human sciences
    • Molecular medicine


Apoptosis, Inflammation, Macrophages

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