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Warwick academic named as emerging leader in cell biology

A University of Warwick academic is to be awarded for their outstanding contribution to UK cell biology.

Andrew McAinsh, professor of cell biology at Warwick Medical School is to receive the British Society for Cell Biology’s (BSCB) prestigious Hooke Medal.

The Hooke Medal is awarded every year by the BSCB and recognises an emerging leader in the field.

Professor McAinsh’s lab is focused on understanding how chromosomes are correctly separated into the two new daughter cells following cell division. Chromosomes contain the genetic information and mistakes in this process are associated with the progression of cancer, developmental Syndromes (i.e. Down's) and miscarriage.

In particular, they have explored the workings of a nano-scale molecular machine called the kinetochore. Kinetochores assemble on each chromosome and grip molecular cables (called microtubules) within the cell. Professor McAinsh’s lab are working to understand how kinetochores instruct these cables to grow and shrink, maintain their grip, and thereby power chromosome movement.

Prof Andrew McAinsh

Professor McAinsh said: “I am honoured to receive this award for the work I have done so far. Discovering how cells operate at the molecular level is fascinating, and also essential, if we are to understand how defects in cell function lead to human disease. I am also really grateful to all the students and researchers from my lab, and the wonderful collaborators and colleagues who have shared ideas and supported my work. I am, however, most excited by the fact that there are still so many more questions than answers when it comes to the inner workings of a cell!”

Since 2015, the Hooke Medal has been awarded to a cell biologist who started their own group within the last 14 years. The award is named after Robert Hooke, the eminent 17th century natural philosopher and author of Micrographia, the world’s first comprehensive illustrated book on microscopy, and is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to UK Cell Biology.

BSCB President, Professor Ann Ridley said: “I am delighted that Andrew is the recipient of the BSCB Hooke medal for 2018. The Hooke medal was established to recognise an outstanding early to mid-career cell biologist each year.

“Andrew was chosen from many excellent candidates for his seminal contributions to cell biology over his career so far. I look forward to presenting the medal to him at the Dynamic Cell III Meeting next March.”

Professor McAinsh holds a Wellcome Senior Investigator Award and Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award. His work is also supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC). Following his PhD and postdoctoral training he established his independent laboratory in 2005 at the Marie Curie Research Institute. He moved to the University of Warwick in 2009 to co-found the Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology where his research group is based.

The medal will be presented to Professor McAinsh at the annual Spring Meeting of the BSCB in Manchester in March 2018 (Dynamic Cell III) where he will deliver a talk about his research.

5 December 2017

For further details please get in touch with Nicola Jones, Media Relations Manager 07920531221 or N.Jones.1@warwick.ac.uk