Two more Fellows of the Royal Society

03 May 2013

NIMR scientists, Gitta Stockinger and Jean-Paul Vincent, have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society.

Royal Society Fellows are at the cutting edge of science worldwide. Their achievements represent the vast contribution science makes to society. This year 44 new Fellows have been elected. They join an outstanding group of over 1400 Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society, and all rank among the international leaders in their field.

Gitta Stockinger

Gitta Stockinger obtained her PhD from the University of Mainz in Germany. She did postdoctoral studies in London (Clinical Research Centre, Harrow) with Liz Simpson and in Babraham, as an EMBO fellow with Bruce Roser. She then returned briefly to Germany and worked at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg with Peter Krammer. From 1985 to 1991 she was a scientific member of the Basel Institute for Immunology where she initiated her studies of T cell tolerance.

Gitta Stockinger (pictured) moved to NIMR in 1991 to study the development and function of CD4 T cells. One area of current focus is the mechanisms and consequences of T cell plasticity in inflammation and infection. Following her identification of the role of the transcription factor aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in Th17 cells, she obtained an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant in 2009 to study the influence of environmental triggers via AhR on Th17 mediated immune responses.

Gitta became head of the Division of Molecular Immunology in 2010. She was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2005 and to EMBO in 2008.

Jean-Paul Vincent

Jean-Paul Vincent got his first degree, in applied physics, from the University of Louvain (Belgium). He then obtained a Fulbright fellowship for postgraduate studies in Biophysics at the University of California, Berkeley (M.A and Ph.D.) His thesis showed that the dorso-ventral axis of frog embryos is specified by the so-called subcortical rotation in the egg. From Berkeley, Jean-Paul moved across the bay to the University of California San Francisco for postdoctoral training with Patrick O’Farrell (as a Damon Runyon fellow). There, in collaboration with Tim Mitchison, he devised the first cell lineage tracer based on caged dye technology. In 1993, he started his own research group at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (UK) where he developed further his interests in epithelial patterning.

Jean-Paul Vincent (pictured) moved to NIMR in 1997. Since then he has shown that degradation of Wingless, an important signalling molecule, is developmentally regulated and that such degradation is crucial in regulating the range of Wingless signalling. He continues to study the trafficking of Wingless and its effects on patterning and growth. Another area of active research concerns the signals that trigger apoptosis in response to epithelial disruption or cell fate mis-specification.

Jean-Paul became joint head of the Division of Developmental Biology in 2012. He is a member of British Society for Developmental Biology, the British Society for Cell Biology and the British Genetics Society. He was elected to EMBO in 2006 and to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010.

I’m really pleased that Gitta and J-P have been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society. Gitta Stockinger’s work has made huge contributions to our understanding of the regulation and maintenance of peripheral T cell immune responses, and her work on the differentiation of Th17 cells and the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in their function has been truly ground-breaking. Meanwhile, Jean-Paul Vincent has made use of his training in maths and physics to solve important problems in developmental biology, from the analysis of cortical rotation in the frog embryo, to the use of caged dyes to study cell lineage, to studying endocytic trafficking of Wnts in the fruitfly. Both Gitta and J-P are well-deserving of this accolade and I join with the whole of NIMR in offering my congratulations.

Jim Smith, Director of NIMR

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