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Head of University’s Life Sciences School awarded prestigious Biochemical Society Award

Professor Laurence Pearl

The University of Sussex’s Head of the School of Life Sciences has won one of the UK’s most prestigious honours in biochemistry.

Professor Laurence Pearl, who has led the School since 2009, has received the renowned Novartis Medal and Prize in the Biochemical Society Awards 2018.

The distinguished Professor of Structural Biology, who is also a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), was chosen to receive the prize for his research into the structural biology of DNA Repair, protein kinase signalling and molecular chaperones.

The Novartis Medal and Prize is awarded annually in recognition of the contribution scientists make to the development of biochemistry. Past well-known recipients connected to the University of Sussex include Nobel Prize winner Professor Sir John ‘Kappa’ Cornforth FRS, who was the first recipient; Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse FRS, who began his research career at Sussex; Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS, who lectured in Biochemistry at Sussex; and Professor Sir Adrian Bird FRS, who was one of the University’s first ever Biochemistry students.

The Novartis Medal and Prize is awarded as part of the Biochemical Society’s annual Awards, which recognise 11 scientists for the excellence of their work and the profound impact their research has had on the scientific community and wider society. 

Professor Pearl, Head of the School of Life Sciences, said: “I’m delighted and amazed by this award and overawed to be in the company of the previous recipients, which includes so many scientists who have inspired me throughout my career.

"I’ve been incredibly lucky with the clever and determined people who’ve come to work with me over the years, and our international network of collaborators.

"We are deeply indebted to Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust for their generous long-term support which has given us the space to ask really interesting and difficult questions.”

Professor Colin D. Bingle, Acting Chair of the Awards Committee, said: “Professor Pearl is an impressive biomedical scientist, who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the structural basis for specificity and mechanism in the systems that carry out DNA repair, signal transduction, and chaperone-dependent protein activation in cells. 

"His work exemplifies an integrated approach in which molecular biology, biochemical and structural techniques are combined to address questions of biological mechanism and function, and translated to the discovery of new treatments for human diseases.”

For more information about the Biochemical Society Award please visit:

By: Patrick Reed
Last updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2017