Medical School Professors elected Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences
18 May 2023
Professor Simon Gilbody and Professor Gavin Wright, have been elected as Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, in recognition of their scientific achievement and leadership.
The Fellowship represents the most influential medical scientists in the UK and worldwide, with around 1000 scientists elected in the group.
Each year the Academy of Medical Sciences elects new Fellows in a highly competitive process, who are selected for their contributions to the advancement of medical science through innovative research discoveries and translating scientific developments into benefits for patients and the wider society.
Professor Gilbody’s career spans 30 years and focuses on rigorous experiments and epidemiological studies to treat and prevent the epidemic of mental ill health and loneliness in the population.
Recent years have seen the Academy elect Fellows who have spearheaded the UK’s COVID-19 response. Professor Gilbody’s research team gained international attention during the COVID pandemic when their NIHR BASIL COVID-19 trials programme demonstrated how the psychological impacts of lockdown and social isolation can be tackled at scale.
He also leads mental health research in the world’s largest multi-ethnic cohort, known as Born in Bradford. This generates new insights into the causes and consequences of mental health in 30,000 young Bradfordians.
Professor Gilbody, Director of the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group (MHARG), Department of Health Sciences and Hull York Medical School, said: "This is an immense honour and a great recognition of Hull York Medical School’s mental health research programme by the Academy. I am blessed with the best colleagues and collaborators at the University and Medical School, and we were well placed to rise to the challenge of COVID in 2020. I will use my Fellowship to ensure the scientific excellence in our northern universities is recognised and nurtured."
Professor Gavin Wright’s work focuses on the molecules displayed on the surface of cells which are used for recognition and communication.
Research from his team has revealed which molecules interact when sperm and egg meet at fertilisation and how the parasite that causes malaria invades our red blood cells. These discoveries are being used to develop new fertility treatments and vaccines for malaria.
Gavin Wright, Professor of Microbial Biochemistry at the University’s Department of Biology and Hull York Medical School, said: "I am delighted to have been elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, which is a reflection of the fact that I have been very fortunate to have worked with some extremely talented people over the years."
Professor Charlie Jeffery, Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, said: "We are extremely proud to see two York Professors recognised in this way, it is a brilliant accolade for their work. The University of York exists for public good and the contributions Professor Gilbody and Professor Wright have made into improving the health and wellbeing of people around the world demonstrates how we do this."
Professor Una MacLeod, Dean of Hull York Medical School added her congratulations, saying: "Since its foundation, Hull York Medical School has placed mental health and epidemiology at the centre of its curriculum. This is reflected in Simon and Gavin’s work and I am delighted to see them elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences."
Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said: "These new Fellows are pioneering biomedical research and driving life-saving improvements in healthcare, from understanding the spread of infectious diseases to developing mental health interventions. It’s a pleasure to recognise and celebrate their exceptional talent by welcoming them to the Fellowship.
"This year, we are celebrating our 25th anniversary. The Fellowship is our greatest asset, and their broad expertise and dynamic ability has shaped the Academy to become the influential, expert voice of health. As we look to the future, the collective wisdom our new Fellows bring will be pivotal in achieving our mission to create an open and progressive research sector to improve the health of people everywhere."