skip to content

Wellcome - MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

Logo of the Royal Society

Group Leaders Professor David Rowitch and Professor Ben Simons, and Affiliate Principal Investigator Dr Peter Campbell, are among over 60 outstanding scientists from across the globe who have joined the Royal Society as Fellows and Foreign Members.

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth. Its Foreign Members are drawn from the rest of the world and are selected for their exceptional contributions to science.

The Society’s fundamental purpose is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

“The global pandemic has demonstrated the continuing importance of scientific thinking and collaboration across borders,” said President of the Royal Society, Sir Adrian Smith.

“Each Fellow and Foreign Member bring their area of scientific expertise to the Royal Society and when combined, this expertise supports the use of science for the benefit of humanity.

“Our new Fellows and Foreign Members are all at the forefronts of their fields from molecular genetics and cancer research to tropical open ecosystems and radar technology. It is an absolute pleasure and honour to have them join us.”

Professor David Rowitch FMedSci FRS

Professor and Head of the Department of Paediatrics, Group Leader at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator

Professor Rowitch’s basic and translational research on glial cells, comprising 90% of cells in the human brain, has been transformative. Rowitch’s established how embryonic central nervous patterning specifies myelinating oligodendrocytes through essential functions of Olig2, a study that helped initiate genetic methodologies in glial biology, and how astrocyte functional diversification is critical for support of neural circuits in the spinal cord. He has applied a developmental neuroscience perspective to better understand human neonatal brain development and white matter injury in premature infants, multiple sclerosis and leukodystrophy.

David said: “It is a great honour to be elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, joining many of my esteemed Cambridge, and other scientific, colleagues.”

Professor Benjamin Simons FRS

Royal Society EP Abraham Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Group Leader at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute and Senior Group Leader of the Gurdon Institute

As a theorist, Professor Simons has contributed to a diverse range of fields, from quantum condensed matter physics to developmental and cancer biology. His research translates concepts and approaches from statistical physics to gain predictive insights in the collective dynamics of complex systems. In biology, his studies have revealed common mechanisms of stem cell regulation, and how these programmes become subverted during the early phase of tumour growth.

Ben said: “I am delighted to be elected to the Fellowship. I hope that my election may serve to emphasise the value of multidisciplinary research that stands at the interface between physics and the life sciences.”

Affiliate PI Dr Peter Campbell FMedSci FRS

Head, Cancer, Ageing, and Somatic Mutations Programme, Wellcome Sanger Institute and Honorary Professor of Cancer Genomics, Dept of Haematology.

Peter has been recognised for his work as an early adopter of genomic technologies to study the underlying mechanisms of cancer which has led the development of an entirely new approach to investigating cancer.

Find out more

The full list of new Fellows and Foreign Members was published by the Royal Society on Thursday 6 May 2021.