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Honorary members

The British Society for Immunology awards Honorary Lifetime Membership in recognition of outstanding contribution to immunology and/or to the Society. This honour is awarded after rigorous discussion and a vote by the Trustees.

Current awardees:

  • Eric Bell

Carried out important work on lymphocyte recirculation; was the first person to identify antigen loaded dendritic cells emanating in the lymph from the intestine. He also was one of the first people to characterize CD45 isoforms as markers of functional subsets of CD4+ T cells, and importantly, showed that these markers were not fully stable, but could revert with time. Worked at The University of Manchester and was General Secretary of the British Society for Immunology.

  • Walter Bodmer

Fellow of the Royal Society, receiving the Royal Medal in 2013; awarded the William Allan Award; Ellison-Cliffe Medal from the Royal Society of Medicine and the Michael Faraday Prize. He was knighted in 1986 for services to science. First Director General of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Bodmer made crucial contributions to the discovery of the HLA system and now heads the Cancer and Immunogenetics group of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine.​​

  • Anne Cooke

Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Biology and currently Professor of Immunobiology at the University of Cambridge. Anne has made seminal contributions to the field of autoimmunity, with a particular focus on type 1 diabetes and later the interplay between infection and autoimmunity, which a special focus on parasites.

Anne's research has been used to generate improved strategies for the treatment of autoimmune pathology and opened up new avenues for potential novel therapies. Through teaching, Anne has also mentored and inspired many early-career scientists into our discipline. Anne was previously Vice-President of the BSI where she also led the BSI Forum.

  • Doreen Cantrell

​​Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and EMBO. Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, Head of the College of Life Sciences and Vice-Principal of the University of Dundee.​

Doreen published the first single-cell analysis of T lymphocyte proliferation and was the first to link metabolism with T cell homing marking the start of immunometabolomics, along with other breakthroughs in T-lymphocyte activation and differentiation.

Doreen was appointed Commander of the British Empire in the 2014 New Year's Honours list for her services to life sciences.

  • Richard Flavell

Fellow of the Royal Society. Member of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. Awarded the Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science. Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University. Flavell has focused some of his work on the immune response within the gut, contributing to the knowledge of the gut microbiota, and the diseases that occur because of its dysbiosis.  He gave the Keynote Lecture at the BSI Congress 2014.

  • David Gray

Professor of Immunology and Head of the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research, University of Edinburgh. Past General Secretary of the British Society for Immunology. Gray’s research focusses on fundamental and cellular immunology.

  • Adrian Hayday

Kay Glendinning Professor and Chair in the Department of Immunology at King’s College London. Fellow of the Royal Society, Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute and until recently, he chaired Cancer Research UK’s science committee. Past President of the British Society for Immunology 2005–2009. Awarded the William Clyde deVane Medal. Hayday’s research spans several fields. He has made crucial contributions to understanding and utilisation of gamma-delta T cells and was also first to identify the molecular basis of oncogene activation in Burkitt’s lymphoma.

  • Mike Kemeny

Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at National University of Singapore with research particularly focusing on the immune regulatory pathways in the lung.  Co-founder and co-director of the Cellular & Molecular Mechanisms of Inflammation Programme within the University.

  • Peter Lachmann

President of the Royal College of Pathologists between 1990–1993; Vice President and Biological Secretary of the Royal Society between 1993–1998; Founding President of the Academy of Medical Sciences between 1998–2002. Awarded a Gold Medal from the European Complement Network, the Medicine and Europe Senior Prize. He was knighted for services to medical sciences in 2002. Lachmann’s research primarily focusses on the complement system and microbial immunology.

  • Foo Yew "Eddy" Liew

Fellow of the Royal Society and Distinguished Professor in Immunology at the University of Glasgow. Liew was first to demonstrate roles of nitric oxide within the immune system, both in the process of killing engulfed pathogens and regulating immune cell differentiation.

  • Ravinder Maini

Awarded the Crafoord Prize; Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research; the Fothergillian Prize from the London Medical Society; Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research and the Ernst Schering Prize. Fellow of the Royal Society. He was knighted for his services to medical research in 2003. Emeritus Professor of Rheumatology at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford. Maini’s work as a rheumatologist has made dramatic improvement in the quality of life of sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis through the development of the biological therapy, anti-TNF.

  • Don Mason

Started academic life as a physicist studying nuclear fusion before moving into the field of cellular immunology.  Together with Alan Williams and colleagues at the MRC Cellular Immunology Unit in the Dunn School of Pathology in Oxford, he focused on immunological studies using the rat as a model organism. This included generated panels of monoclonal antibodies to key surface molecules, some of which enabled CD4+ T cell subsets to be separated out into those that mediated pathology and identify those CD4+ T cells, regulatory T cells, that controlled them. By targeting antigens to B cells using monoclonal antibodies, he successfully inhibited the development of multiple sclerosis in an animal model. He also showed that genetic differences affecting the neuroendocrine system determined whether rat strains were susceptible or resistance to the induction of demyelinating disease.

  • Andrew McMichael

Fellow of the Royal Society 1992 and Academy of Medical Sciences 1998. Andrew was knighted for services to medical sciences in 2008. Andrew is particularly known for his work on T cell responses to viral infections such as influenza and HIV and was the first to show that: viral peptides are presented to T cells by HLA proteins on the surface of virally infected cells; that virus specific CD8 T cells are MHC restricted; with Alan Townsend that viral peptides are presented to T cells by HLA proteins on the surface of virally infected cells.

  • N Avrion Mitchison

Mitchison conducted important research in the field of transplant immunology and tolerance. Fellow of the Royal Society and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Awarded the Sandoz Prize in Basic Immunology. Founding member of the British Society for Immunology.

  • Anne O'Garra

O’Garra’s research concentrates on the role and regulation of cytokines in the immune response. Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academy of Medical Sciences. Associate Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute since 2015.

  • Bridget Ogilvie

An internationally recognised immunologist/parasitologist working on the immune response to nematodes, she then embarked on a sabbatical with the Wellcome Trust, which led to a change in career path.  She became their Director from 1991-1998, which involved overseeing an expansion of their funding schemes as well as the establishment of the Sanger Institute. She has served on many advisory board and committees, including as a Vice Chair of the board of trustees at Sense About Science, and as a trustee of the Science Museum. She was awarded the Kilgerran Prize of the Foundation for Science and Technology in 1994, and was both elected as a fellow of the Royal Society and knighted in 2003, and in 2007, appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia. 

  • Peter Openshaw

Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Biology. Peter is Professor of Experimental Medicine and an Honorary Consultant Physician at Imperial College London and is an expert in lung immunology, particularly viral diseases caused by RSV and influenza.

Elected as President of the British Society for Immunology in 2013, Peter was the first clinician to hold this role which he did for five years in office. During this time, he oversaw a series of major transformations, including growth in membership and scope, putting our ambitious strategic plan in place and increasing our policy work.

  • Ivan M Roitt

Conducted important research underpinning autoimmune disease and became Head of the Department of Immunology at University College London 1967–1992. Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of NALIA Systems

  • Nancy Rothwell

President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester; Director of AstraZeneca; co-chair of the Council for Science and Technology and past President of the Royal Society of Biology. Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences. Awarded the Royal Society Pfizer Award and a DBE.

  • John Savill

Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council; Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine; Vice Principal of University of Edinburgh. He was knighted for his services to clinical science in 2008 . Fellow of the Royal Society. Awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  A clinician scientist, Savill has made major contributions towards understanding the molecular processes of inflammation.

  • Jonathon Sprent

Fellow of the Royal Society and the Australian Academy. Awarded the J.Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine plus numerous awards, including the Achievement Award, from the National Health and Medical Research Council. Past President of the American Association of Immunologists. Sprent’s research has focused on the formation and activation of T cells, and their manipulation to enable the tolerance of transplanted tissue.

  • Michael Steward

Professor at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he founded the MSc in Immunology of Infectious Diseases in 1991. He later became editor of the British Society for Immunology’s journal Immunology for 17 years. His research was focused on antibody affinity, measles, RSV and epitope-based vaccines.

  • Ronald A Thompson

Past editor of the British Society for Immunology’s journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology. First clinical immunologist appointed in the NHS and founder of the Allergy and Immunology Department at Heartlands Hospital. Ronald was the driving force behind the establishment of Birmingham as the leading diagnostic laboratory in the UK.  Research interests focus around abnormalities and defects of the immune system implicated in disease. 

  • Herman Waldmann

Made major contributions to the field of immunology through his studies on immune tolerance in animal models, with particular focus on transplantation tolerance and autoimmunity, in addition to pioneering the use of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies against T cells, resulting in the development of Campath-1H, the first humanised monoclonal antibody to be used therapeutically.  Head of the Immunology Division in the Department of Pathology of the University of Cambridge in 1989 and later head of the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford in 1994. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1990, became a founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998, and has been awarded numerous scientific awards for his contributions to the field of immunology. 

Past awardees:

  • Brigitte A Askonas
  • Baruj Benacerraf
  • David Weatherall
  • Robert RA (Robin) Coombs
  • Jean Dausset
  • Leonard E Glynn
  • Leslie Brent
  • J R Hobbs
  • Eric J Holborrow
  • Delphine Parrott
  • John H L Playfair
  • John L Turk
  • Johannes J Van Rood



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