Division of Infection and Immunity


UCL scientist elected President of the Academy of Medical Sciences

30 October 2020

Professor Dame Anne Johnson has been elected as the next Academy of Medical Sciences President, vowing to “create an environment where high-quality health research can thrive” and ensure “global collaboration continues to flourish”.

Professor Dame Anne Johnson

Dame Anne will be the sixth Academy President and will take over the post from Professor Sir Robert Lechler on 3 December 2020. Presidents of the Academy of Medical Sciences serve for up to five years.

Dame Anne is Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the Division of Infection & Immunity and Co-Director of UCL Health of the Public.

Commenting on her appointment, she said: “It is an absolute honour to be elected President of the Academy of Medical Sciences at a time when medical research couldn’t be more crucial to people’s heath in the UK and globally.

“The pandemic has reminded us all just how precious our health and wellbeing is and has highlighted the importance of independent evidence, and integration of the clinical, public health, social and discovery science responses to a health and societal challenge of unprecedented scale in our lifetime.

“I will lead the Academy to create an environment where the full spectrum of high-quality health research can thrive and networks are created between leading researchers throughout the UK and globally.

“My priorities will include promoting research excellence and collaboration which extends across geography and background, improving research culture and careers so everyone can thrive, ensuring global collaboration continues to flourish after we have left the EU, and helping UK research recover from the significant setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dame Anne FMedSci was elected a Fellow of the Academy in 2001 and has had a distinguished career in epidemiology and public health, working on topics including HIV/AIDS, influenza and diagnostics for infectious diseases.

Welcoming the news, current Academy President Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, said: “Anne has already had a significant impact on Academy work including chairing an influential working group on Health of the Public 2040 and by being central to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

”I am delighted to hand over the Presidency to someone with such a clear vision and enthusiasm to ensure that the Academy continues to enable UK and global research to improve health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and in decades to come.”

Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci, Academy Vice-President (Clinical) and Chair of the Search Committee which oversaw the election process said: “I am thrilled to welcome Dame Anne Johnson as the next Academy President.

"Her election follows a rigorous process to identify the best candidate - with a focus on making sure that a diverse range of candidates were encouraged to put themselves forward for consideration. In practice this meant seeking out and having conversations with many potential candidates, in a process that was inclusive across the entire Fellowship as it related to gender, ethnicity and geographical diversity.

"This extensive search for potential candidates was followed by a comprehensive interview process. We are pleased to have selected a new President that will be able to effectively lead the Academy through such a significant time for medical science.”

The Academy of Medical Sciences is the independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science. Elected Fellows are the UK’s leading medical scientists from hospitals, academia, industry and the public service. The Academy's mission is to advance biomedical and health research and its translation into benefits for society.



  • Professor Dame Anne Johnson. Credit: Academy of Medical Sciences

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