Wellcome leaders recognised in New Year’s Honours list

Prominent members of Wellcome’s community have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Jim Smith, Wellcome’s Director of Science, Professor Nick White, the Chair of Wellcome’s South-east Asia Major Overseas Programme, and Shankar Balasubramanian, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, have received knighthoods.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome's Director, said: "I am absolutely delighted that Jim Smith, Nick White and Shankar Balasubramanian have been awarded honours and warmly congratulate all those who have been recognised today. From fundamental cell biology, to reading the genetic code and reducing the burden of malaria, the people honoured have provided outstanding leadership in their respective fields and, in different ways, helped to improve health for everyone around the world."

Dr Jim Smith leads Wellcome's Science Division. He was formerly Deputy CEO and Chief of Strategy at the Medical Research Council, Director of the National Institute of Medical Research, and Director of Research at the Francis Crick Institute. A globally recognised developmental biologist, his research interests include inductive interactions in vertebrate development and applying the principles of developmental biology to stem cell differentiation.

Professor Nick White is Chair of Wellcome’s South-east Asia Major Overseas Programmes, a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow, and Professor of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University, Bangkok and the University of Oxford. He played a key role in ensuring the global recommendation of artemisinin-based combination therapy as the most effective treatment for malaria caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which has lead to a major reduction in death and illness from malaria.

Professor Shankar Balasubramanian is Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, and a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator. His research explores new ways to control cancer-causing genes that are often found to be over-active in various cancers. He has developed techniques such as Solexa sequencing, which have helped to revolutionise biomedical research.