Professors Marian Dawkins and Rajesh Thakker, both Fellows of Somerville College, were elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society on 30 April, 2014.

Marian Dawkins, Professor of Animal Behaviour, Department of Zoology, was described by the Royal Society as “one of the most influential scientists in the field of animal welfare”. Professor Dawkins, as the Society’s web pages reported, “ has done more than anyone” to change the perception that animal welfare is too difficult a subject to define and that (non-human) animal ‘feelings’ cannot be measured. It notes that her findings have influenced “policy and practice across Europe and beyond”.

Professor Dawkins is an Emeritus Fellow of Somerville College and began working for the Animal Research Group in the University’s Department of Zoology in 1969, becoming a lecturer in 1977 and Professor of Animal Behaviour in 1998. She was appointed Head of the Animal Behaviour Research Group earlier this year.

Rajesh Thakker, May Professor of Medicine, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, and a Fellow of Somerville, was elected on the basis of “major contributions to endocrinology, particularly parathyroid and renal disorders affecting calcium homeostasis”. The Society’s web announcement noted that Professor Thakker has made “seminal gene discoveries and insights into molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms”, among them the characterisation of mutations of the calcium-sensing-receptor. Some of his findings have resulted in “new pathophysiological insights and advances in diagnosis and treatment”.

Formerly Professor of Medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London, Professor Thakker has also been Chairman of the MRC Efficacy and Mechanisms Evaluation Board of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) since 2008. Professor Thakker also sits on the Governing Body of Somerville College.

“I am delighted to see this richly deserved recognition for two of Somerville’s most distinguished senior Fellows” said Dr Alice Prochaska, Principal of Somerville. “In addition to their ground-breaking leadership in their own fields, both Professor Dawkins and Professor Thakker have made huge contributions to the college community over many years. It is a privilege to work with them. I would like to extend warmest congratulations to them both on behalf of Somerville.”

The Royal Society has listed its newly-appointed Fellows on its website.

New Honorary Fellows

Somerville College has itself recently appointed two new Honorary Fellows, one of them also a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Tessa Ross was recently appointed CEO of the National Theatre and Joanna Haigh FRS is Head of Physics and Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London.

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