Gurdyal Besra FMedSci FRS to be new Microbiology Society President

The Microbiology Society has announced that its new President will be Professor Gurdyal Besra FMedSci FRS from the University of Birmingham. Professor Besra’s Presidency will run for three years, beginning on 1 January 2022, when current President, Professor Judith Armitage FRS, steps down.

Professor Besra joined the Society in 1999 and is Bardrick Professor of Microbial Physiology and Chemistry at the University of Birmingham where he heads a world-leading multidisciplinary team investigating key aspects of the microbial physiology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell wall and the potential role of iNKT/CD1d therapeutics.

Professor Besra is widely recognised for his contributions to science, including the Microbiology Society’s Unilever Colworth Prize (2016); the Biochemical Society Award (2008) and Morton Lecture (2020); the Jeremy Knowles Medal (2014) and Carbohydrate Award (2003) from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2013 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2019.

He said of his appointment: "I am surprised, delighted and honoured to be elected as the next President of the Microbiology Society. I’m looking forward to the task ahead, working within the Society and with colleagues from our discipline to champion areas where I feel the Society will have a far reaching impact in terms of science and medicine, along with the key societal issues we face today."

Microbiology Society President Professor Judith Armitage FRS said: "I am absolutely delighted that Gurdyal (Del) Besra will follow me as the next President of the Microbiology Society. He is not only an outstanding interdisciplinary microbiologist, taking studies of the basic biology of pathogens through to the host responses and thus identifying possible antimicrobials, he is an exceptional communicator. I am sure that under his presidency the Society will continue to flourish, both by supporting our members and keeping the broad subject of microbiology on the public agenda."

Dr Peter Cotgreave, Chief Executive of the Microbiology Society, said: "I am delighted to welcome Del Besra as our next President. He follows Judy Armitage who has worked to strengthen membership around the country and beyond. The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on microbiology and Del joins us as we work to maintain focus on the discipline and support for our wide community of members. Del is an exceptional scientist and becomes President of the Microbiology Society at a very important time for all microbiologists."

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