Leading Imperial academics are among those to be recognised in the 2022 New Year Honours List.
Members of the Imperial community to receive honours include Professor Robin Grimes, BCH Steele Chair in Energy Materials in the Department of Materials, who has been made a Knight Bachelor for services to UK Resilience and International Science Relationships.
Professor Wendy Barclay, Head of Imperial College London’s Department of Infectious Disease and Chair in Influenza Virology, was awarded a CBE for her contributions to the study of viruses and her research during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Peter Openshaw, Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute, also receives a CBE for services to Medicine and Immunology.
Dr Justin Roe, Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial, receives an MBE for services to Speech and Language Therapy, while Lesley Rawlinson, Laboratory Manager in Imperial's Department of Infectious Disease, receives a British Empire Medal for services to the COVID-19 response. Former Strategic Adviser to Imperial's Centre for Nuclear Engineering Dr Norman Waterman also receives an MBE.
Knighthood: Professor Robin Grimes
Professor Robin Grimes’ research focuses on the application and development of computer simulation techniques to predict structural and dynamic properties of ceramics and metals for energy applications – particularly nuclear.
Since 1984 he has authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications. He has served as Chief Scientific Adviser (Nuclear) for the Ministry of Defence and Chief Scientific Advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Professor Grimes continues to play an active part in building engagement with scientists across the world, including Japan, Argentina and India. He was elected Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society in 2021.
Professor Robin Grimes said: “I am grateful to my excellent colleagues and to the environment at Imperial which has enabled me carry out this important work within Government. I am honoured to receive this recognition.”
Professor Wendy Barclay CBE
Beginning her career at what was then the Common Cold Unit in Salisbury and the University of Reading, Professor Barclay’s research has focused on respiratory viruses and the factors affecting how well they can be transmitted and cause disease.
In almost 15 years at Imperial, her work has provided key insights into the molecular aspects of the host range, transmissibility and pathogenicity of viruses such as influenza, rhinovirus and SARS-CoV-2. She has contributed to the understanding of how these viruses cause pandemics, and how we can best use vaccines and antiviral treatments to combat them.
It was the proudest moment of my life telling my husband and my two sons that I will be honoured in this way." Professor Wendy Barclay Department of Infectious Disease
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, her collaborations with Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency) and roles on several government advisory committees have provided critical evidence on emerging threats from SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. This work spans basic virology and immunology as well as analysis of environmental samples for traces of the virus.
Playing a key part in Imperial’s COVID-19 Response, Professor Barclay’s team continues to work on molecular analyses for projects including: the REACT study monitoring virus and antibody in community; ATACCC studying household transmission; ISARIC-4C, which collects and analyses samples from hospitalised COVID-19 patients; and the COVID-19 Human Challenge Study.
She also is a member of the National Core study on SARS CoV2 transmission, PROTECT and she leads the UK’s Genotype to Phenotype Virology (G2P) Consortium, established to study the impact of mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and help UKHSA risk assess novel variants in real time as they arise..
Commenting on her honour, Professor Barclay said: "I’m really grateful to have been nominated for this award. The last two years have been extremely busy, and I could not have achieved anything without the unwavering support of the people I work with, my lab and collaborators old and new. But most of all my family - it was the proudest moment of my life telling my husband Dan and my two sons, Harry and Fergus, that I will be honoured in this way."
Professor Peter Openshaw CBE
Professor Peter Openshaw is a respiratory physician and mucosal immunologist, studying how the immune system both protects against viral infection but also causes disease. He has been a central figure in Imperial’s COVID-19 response, providing crucial insight into the disease’s progression and spread.
Professor Openshaw said: “I am so pleased about this award which recognises not just my work, but the fantastic teams with whom I have had the privilege of working over many years. It is wonderful to have recruited a string of brilliant young investigators who are now themselves academic leaders, or have gone on to enjoyable roles in other areas."
He co-leads ISARIC4C a UK-wide consortium of doctors and scientists established in 2020 to study the COVID-19 pandemic, modeled on the MOSAIC consortium that he established in 2009 to study pandemic influenza. ISARIC4C provides a foundation for the UK’s outbreak response, sharing samples and data to support researchers across the globe in answering urgent questions about COVID-19 quickly, openly, and for public benefit.
Professor Openshaw has worked on RSV and influenza since the mid-1980s, running studies of human experimental infection of volunteers since 2008. He is Director of the MRC-funded HIC-Vac consortium, established to promote the use of human experimental infection to accelerate vaccine development for pathogens of high global impact. He is the co-investigator for a landmark human challenge study for COVID-19 at Imperial which is helping to understand the course of disease in those with mild infections and to investigate the detailed natural history of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Professor Openshaw is vice-Chair of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), advising the government on the threat posed by new and emerging respiratory viruses. He was President of the British Society for Immunology from 2013 to 2018.
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