Raymond Schofield Awarded 2024 Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences age 98

Dr Raymond Schofield was awarded the 22 annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences with Judith Kimble and Allan Spradling for their discovery of the stem cell niche, a localised environment that controls stem cell identity.

First awarded in 2002, The Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences is presented annually to recognise contributions that have opened new fields of research or have advanced concepts in a particular biomedical discipline.

Raymond proposed the concept of a stem cell niche back in 1978. Recognition for this seminal work comes over 45 years later as he approaches his 99 birthday. At that grand age it is quite remarkable that he is still around to receive this accolade.

The Paterson Laboratories as they were known then assembled a pioneering group of notable haematology researchers and t’he Paterson Institute became part of The University of Manchester in 2006. Working alongside Ray was Mike Dexter - at the time a postgraduate student - who later became the Director of the Institute and subsequently Director of Wellcome, and Brian Lord, who published over 130 papers and made many scientific break throughs in the of field stem cell biology and haematopoiesis.

The photo features Ray on the left with colleague and friend Brian, who sadly passed away in 2021. Brian was the father of the current Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, Professor Graham Lord.

Ray worked at the Holt Radium Institute, later renamed the Paterson Laboratories after the first Director, Professor Ralston Paterson, until 1985 when he ’retired’ to become a farmer in West Wales, where he still lives.

The new Paterson Building is on the same site as the original Paterson Laboratories, next to the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

"I am thrilled that Drs. Schofield, Kimble, and Spradling have been selected to receive the Wiley Prize for their discovery of the stem cell niche. This niche is a cellular microenvironment that maintains stem cells in their naive state and prevents them from differentiating. Their pioneering discovery, made by studying bone marrow stem cells and stem cells in the reproductive organs of C. elegans and Drosophila, has revealed how stem cells are regulated during human development and tissue maintenance," said Professor Titia de Lange of Rockefeller University and Chair of the Wiley Prize awards jury.

Among the many distinguished recipients of the Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences, thirteen have gone on to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and two have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

"The Wiley Foundation honors research that not only offers breakthrough solutions to existing problems in biomedical sciences, but also fuels future discoveries," said Deborah Wiley, Chair of the Wiley Foundation. "The work of the 2024 Wiley Prize recipients truly upholds this mission, laying the foundation for today’s life-changing discoveries in the field of stem cell biology."

This year’s award will be presented at the Wiley Prize lecture on 5 April 2024, although Ray will not be able to attend given his age.