UCL News


Two UCL academics among WEF Young Scientists

27 May 2020

Dr Mine Orlu (UCL School of Pharmacy) and Dr Joe Grove (UCL Institute of Immunity & Transplantation) have been named to the World Economic Forum’s Class of 2020 Young Scientists, a global list of exceptional researchers at the forefront of scientific discovery.

Mine Orlu and Joe Grove

They feature among 25 scientists from five continents, nominated for their research excellence, leadership potential and commitment to serving society.

The scientists, all aged 40 and under, have been selected on the basis of their achievements in expanding the boundaries of knowledge and practical applications of science in issues as diverse as child psychology, chemical oceanography and artificial intelligence.

Dr Orlu’s work includes designing patient-tailored pharmaceutical and healthcare technologies that contribute to healthy and independent ageing, by providing people with access to safe, effective and acceptable drug delivery systems from birth to old-age.

Dr Orlu said: “I’m honoured to be part of the World Economic Forum’s prestigious Young Scientist Class of 2020. World Economic Forum’s recognition of my contribution to research has boosted my commitment to society and my willingness to work on global challenges, in particular developing healthcare solutions for ageing populations.

“I believe diversity triggers innovation and I very much look forward to engaging with World Economic Forum’s excellent Young Scientists with diverse skills in cross-disciplinary sciences and achieving more in collaboration. I’m also delighted that more than half of this year’s WEF Young Scientists are women and I very much hope that we will continue inspiring young researchers and witness more success stories of women scientists.”

Dr Grove’s lab uses super-resolution imaging and computational simulations, to gain a fundamental understanding of how viruses enter human cells and evade the immune system – research which can inform the design of future therapies and vaccines.

Dr Grove said: “To be selected as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist is a real privilege. I’m really looking forward to engaging with other scientists, business leaders and policy makers from across the world. I hope to promote an evidence-based approach to tackling the various challenges we all face; not least the coronavirus pandemic. Society needs a healthy relationship with science if we are to maintain and expand global prosperity.”

Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice Provost (Health) said: “I am absolutely delighted that Joe and Mine have been selected as WEF Young Scientists of 2020. Their work is exemplary and aims to tackle major health challenges facing society.

“They are two of only four academics named from the UK and they fully deserve this distinction.”

Alice Hazelton, Programme Lead, Science and Society, World Economic Forum said: “We are looking forward to working with the Class of 2020 Young Scientists to help leaders from the public and private sector better engage with science and in doing so, help young researchers become stronger ambassadors for science, which the world needs now and will continue to need post-COVID-19.”



  • Dr Mine Orlu and Dr Joe Grove