UCL News


Top New Year Honours for UCL academics and alumni

2 January 2018

Four UCL academics and five alumni have been awarded honours in the New Year's Honours including a knighthood and a dame.


The honours have gone to Professor Terence John Stephenson, UCL Professor of Child Health; Professor Tim Briggs, professor of orthopaedic surgery; Professor Katharine Carruthers, Director of UCL's IOE Confucius Institute; Professor Mark Miodownik, a pioneer in materials science; UCL alumna Miss Clare Lucy Marx, the first woman to be president of the Royal College of Surgeons; Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, a honorary UCL professor in biosciences; Benjamin Hammond, UCL Institute of Education; and Demis Hassabis, a UCL PhD alumnus and founder of Deep Mind, bought by Google for £400m.

Professor Terence John Stephenson, a consultant paediatrician and chair of the General Medical Council (GMC) from 2015 to 2018, has been knighted for services to healthcare and children's health services. He is currently the Nuffield Professor of Child Health at UCL.

He was formerly Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges for 2012-2014 and President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health 2009-2012. He served as Chair of Scientific Committee, European Paediatric Association 2013-15 and was a member of the Board of Trustees, National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children 2011-14. He has been elected an honorary Fellow of ten colleges or academies, in the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong and Australia.

Professor Stephenson grew up in Northern Ireland and qualified as a doctor in 1983 after education at Bristol University, Imperial College London and New College Oxford. After initial training in Oxford and London, he took a lecturer post in child health in 1986 and was subsequently appointed senior lecturer in 1990 and Professor of Child Health in 1996. In 2003 he became Dean of the Medical School in Nottingham which he continued to lead until moving to UCL in 2009. He was also a non-executive Director of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

He is an honorary consultant in paediatrics at UCL Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital London and has co-authored seven textbooks. He is currently co-director of the Children's Policy Research Unit. His research has mainly been in physiology of early life and acute and chronic paediatric illness. He has published more than 275 peer reviewed papers, editorials and chapters and given invited talks in over 25 countries in every continent.

As a researcher he has received over £13m in funding through 46 different, competitively awarded grants. He is currently Principal Investigator (PI) on a grant of £8.25 million, supervises a post-doc and two PhD students, and has had four last author peer reviewed publications in the last 6 months.

Charlie Massey, the GMC's chief executive, congratulated Professor Stephenson, noting that throughout his career he had proven to be a "strong and influential" advocate for healthcare, doctors in training and in particular children's health services.

He praised Professor Stephenson for leading current reforms to improve patient safety and protect training for doctors. In previous roles, he had initiated the "name on the bed" programme to ensure every patient knew who their consultant was and had played key roles in protecting children from cigarette smoke in cars and combating childhood obesity.

Professor Timothy William Roy Briggs, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (RNOH), chairman of the Federation of Specialist Hospitals and a former president of the British Orthopaedic Association, has been made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). He is also professor of orthopaedic surgery at UCL.

Professor Briggs was appointed a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in 1992 and was its medical director for 15 years. He was appointed National Director for Clinical Quality and Efficiency by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, in October 2015. He found there was a 25-fold variation in infection rates for the same procedure in different hospitals. After visiting 211 hospitals, his report on hip replacement concluded that at least 35 operations a year were needed before a surgeon could produce acceptable results.

Professor Briggs lectures internationally on a regular basis and has major research interests, which predominantly relate to orthopaedic oncology, hip and knee joint replacement and Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation. His work contributed in the development of advances in these areas, including the design of the non-invasive grower for treating paediatric bone tumours.

He has received grants both from the industry and independent bodies and has supervised a plethora of research fellows over the last 10 years. He has published extensively, authored or co-authored several textbooks and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Professor Katharine Carruthers, the Director of the UCL Institute Of Education (IOE) Confucius Institute for Schools, has been awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for services to education. She is also UCL's Pro-Vice-Provost for East Asia.

Professor Carruthers plays a leading role in promoting and developing the study of Chinese in schools in England. This work has been made possible by the IOE Confucius Institute and 45 Confucius Classrooms - supported by Hanban in partnership with Peking University (PKU) and Peking University High School.

She is an experienced teacher and examiner of Chinese. She is the series editor of the textbooks for teaching Chinese for 11-16 year olds and wrote the specification for the increasingly popular Cambridge Pre-U Mandarin Chinese. She teaches on the IOE's PGCE Language course, working with PGCE students training to teach Mandarin Chinese. She is the Strategic Director for UCL's delivery of the DfE's Mandarin Excellence Programme.

Her research interests centre around teaching and learning of Chinese as a foreign language in schools, the notion of intercultural competence in Chinese and UK schools and globalisation and language policy.

As a Pro-Vice-Provost (East Asia), Professor Carruthers plays an important strategic role as a catalyst for UCL's engagement in the region. She has forged growing links with PKU and last year helped lead UCL's first degree awarding ceremony in China with the UCL President and Provost Michael Arthur with her mastery of the Chinese language proving invaluable.

Professor Mark Miodownik from UCL Engineering was awarded a MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to Science, Engineering and Broadcasting.

Professor Miodownik has an international reputation as a materials scientist and engineer. His research includes animate matter, smart materials, and novel manufacturing methods and is being carried out in collaboration with industry, hospitals and charities. He has published two books and more than 100 research publications in a wide selection of journals.

For more than 10 years he has championed research that links the arts and humanities to materials science. This culminated in the establishment of the UCL Institute of Making where he is director and runs the research programme.

After receiving his PhD from Oxford University, he worked in engineering research institutions in the USA, Ireland and the UK before joining UCL in 2012. He was included in The Times 2010 list of the top 100 most influential people in science. He is a Chartered Engineer and in 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Professor Miodownik regularly gives popular talks on engineering and materials to tv, radio, festival, and school audiences.   He gave the 2010 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures and presented a three part BBC4 series on materials science called 'How it Works' in Spring 2012. He writes for The Guardian and The Times, and he is a regular presenter of engineering TV programmes the BBC. In 2013 he was awarded the Rooke Medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering. His book Stuff Matters was published in June 2013 and won the Royal Society Winton Prize and the US National Academies Keck Futures Prize. In 2016 he was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Public Engagement with Science.

Miss Clare Lucy Marx, a UCL alumna and President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England until July 2017, has been awarded a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She was the first woman to be the Royal College's president.

After qualifying in medicine from UCL's Medical School in 1977, she worked in surgical house jobs in London before completing an arthroplasty training at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, USA. She became a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at St Mary's Hospital London with a particular interest in early surgical education. In 1993 she became clinical director of the combined A&E, Trauma & Orthopaedics and Rheumatology directorate at Ipswich Hospital.

After being extensively involved in the Local Negotiating Committee (LNC), the Medical Staff Committee and hospital governance, she was to Royal College of Surgeons' Council in 2009. A former president of the British Orthopaedic Association, she became President of the College in July 2014.

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, an honorary professor in biosciences at UCL and PhD alumnus from UCL, becomes a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to genetics, stem cell biology and the public understanding of science.

Professor Lovell-Badge is a Group Leader at The Francis Crick Institute and Head of the Division of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics, having worked at the National Institute of Medical Research, the Crick's parent institute, since 1988.

On the award of his CBE, Robin said: "I am delighted to receive this honour, but of course I am indebted to all those who have contributed to the science over many years and to all those who have helped me with or tolerated my absences due to my efforts in public engagement. The honour should go to you and I hope we can celebrate together."

Professor Lovell-Badge has longstanding interests in the biology of stem cells, in how genes work in the context of embryo development and in how decisions of cell fate are made. Major themes of his current work include sex determination, development of the nervous system and pituitary, and the biology of stem cells within the early embryo, the central nervous system and the pituitary. He is also very active in both public engagement and policy work, notably around stem cells, genetics, human embryo and animal research, and in the ways science is regulated and disseminated.

He obtained his BSc in zoology at UCL in 1975 and continued to get his PhD in embryology at UCL in 1978. After postdoctoral research in Cambridge and Paris, he established his independent laboratory in 1982 at the Medical Research Council (MRC)
Mammalian Development Unit, UCL. He moved to the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (now part of the Francis Crick Institute) in 1988, becoming Head of Division in 1993. 

Dr Demis Hassabis, UCL PhD alumnus and founder of Deep Mind, the London-based machine learning AI start-up, has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire).

Hassabis, 41, was a child prodigy in chess, reaching master standard at the age of 13 and captaining England junior chess teams, before completing his A-levels at the age of 16. After co-designing a highly successful computer game at the age of 17, he went to Cambridge University where he graduated with a double first in computer science in 1997.

After founding Elixir Studios, a London-based independent games developer, which he grew to 60 people, he returned to academia to obtain his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from UCL in 2009. He continued his neuroscience and AI research as a visiting scientist jointly at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University and co-authored several influential papers.

It was in 2010 that he founded Deep Mind with Shane Legg, whom Hassabis met when they were postdocs at UCL, and with childhood friend Mustafa Suleyman. Deep Mind's aim is to "solve intelligence" and then use intelligence to "solve everything else." It was bought in 2014 by Google for £400m but has remained an independent entity based in London.

Since Google's acquisition, the company has scored a number of significant achievements, perhaps the most notable being the creation of AlphaGo, a programme that defeated world champion Lee Sedol at the complex game of Go, a feat for a long time considered a holy grail for AI.

Professor Caroline Dive, alumna of the UCL School of Pharmacy and currently Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, has received a CBE for her services to cancer research. 

Professor Dive was instrumental in setting up the Cancer Research UK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence between Manchester and UCL and is a world leader in developing 'liquid biopsies' to hunt cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream. 

Her work on developing simple blood tests to capture cancer cells could help researchers understand how lung cancer changes as it grows and spreads, and how it can become resistant to treatment. In turn, this will open up opportunities to develop new therapies to treat this disease more effectively. 

Dr Ben Goldacre, alumnus of UCL Medical School and currently Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, which is part of the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, has been appointed MBE for services to Evidence in Policy. 

He is a best-selling author, broadcaster, campaigner, medical doctor and academic who specialises in unpicking the misuse of science and statistics. Dr Goldacre is also a founder of the AllTrials campaign and OpenTrials to require open science practices in clinical trials.

Benjamin Hammond, from the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to dance and to charity. Hammond is a lecturer in Citizenship Education at the IOE. 

Hammond is also a long distance 'endurance' dancer and dances to raise money for charities which help people escape poverty or persecution.In 2012, he danced from John O'Groats to Land's End to raise money for oppressed people in Myanmar.

On the journey Hammond raised over £40,000, danced with 30,000 people and spoke to 25,000 young people about Myanmar. This year he is attempting to dance from LA to New York to raise money for Anti-Slavery International.  

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