The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine has selected Babraham Institute group leader, Dr Rahul Roychoudhuri, to receive a Lister Institute Research Prize Fellowship. The £200,000 prize aims to ‘make a real difference’ to biomedical research by supporting outstanding young independent researchers. This prestigious award is presented annually and Lister Prize Fellows have gone on to become respected leaders in their fields, with many later joining the Fellowship of the Royal Society.
Rahul Roychoudhuri joined the Babraham Institute in September 2015. He leads a team investigating how the immune system is regulated and suppressed by a process called peripheral tolerance. Faults in this process can cause the immune system to become over active, which can contribute to autoimmune diseases and severe allergic reactions. Similar mechanisms are also important in some cancers.
Speaking about the Prize, Dr Roychoudhuri said: “It’s an honour to be recognised by the Lister Institute and to join such a respected fellowship. I look forward to getting started on the new research this award will help to support and I hope that what we learn will change our understanding of the immune system.”
The Prize will support Dr Roychoudhuri to utilise powerful new genetic screening approaches to identify the functions of key genes. His goal is to examine how gene regulators cause changes to T cells in the immune system to control peripheral tolerance and immunosuppression. If we can understand this process, it could help to treat autoimmune diseases, where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body. This work could also reveal how some cancer cells use similar mechanisms to avoid detection by the immune system.
Director of the Babraham Institute, Professor Michael Wakelam, said: “Rahul is a rising star in his field and I’m thrilled that the quality of his work has been recognised by the Lister Institute. The Lister Prize can be a real boost to the career of outstanding young scientists and I am confident that Rahul will make the most of this opportunity.”
This year’s Prizes will be presented in Cambridge at the Lister Institute’s annual meeting on 7th-8th September. Previous Lister Prize winners from the Babraham Institute include Professor Wolf Reik (1987) and Professor Phill Hawkins (1988) both of whom have led shining research careers and subsequently became Fellows of the Royal Society. Babraham Institute Trustee Professor David Kipling also received a Lister Prize in 1995.
Dr Roychoudhuri studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and Clinical Medicine at King's College London. He gained his PhD working with Dr Gary Nabel at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and went on to do postdoctoral research with Dr Nicholas Restifo at the US National Cancer Institute.
Applications are currently open for the 2018 Lister Prize Fellowships, the deadline for submission is 3rd November.
EDIT: Dr Roychoudhuri's research was covered in a feature by the Cambridge Independent.
Dr Jonathan Lawson, Babraham Institute Communications Manager
About the Lister Prize
The Lister Prize Fellowships have been awarded since the 1980s. They are intended to provide funding over five years to scientists with less than 10 years of postdoctoral experience. The Prizes help to enhance or expand an on-going research activity or enable a new area to be developed that will have a high impact for the recipient. Typically, the Prize is presented to five scientists each year and primarily supports work in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
About the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to undertake world-class life sciences research. Its goal is to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Research focuses on signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing.
24 July 2017