Professor Chris Hawes announced as Royal Microscopical Society Honorary Fellow

Friday, 24 April 2015

Prof Chris Hawes, Oxford Brookes University

An Oxford Brookes academic has been recognised with the highest award offered by the Royal Microscopical Society (RMS) for “exceptional contributions to plant sciences”.

Professor Chris Hawes will be one of only 65 individuals able to be an RMS Honorary Fellow at any time.

The accolade is only presented to the most eminent and celebrated scientists in the field of microscopy and three new Honorary Fellows were announced this week. Potential Honorary Fellows must be nominated and recommended by five or more current Fellows of the RMS.

Professor Hawes is viewed by many as a truly inspirational character. His seemingly limitless enthusiasm for science, both at the bench and through helping others achieve their scientific goals and potential, is a rare and valued combination.

Royal Microscopical Society

Professor Hawes' accolade was announced at the recent Botanical Microscopy Meeting.

Dr Imogen Sparkes, co-organiser of the 2015 Botanical Microscopy Meeting, said: “I am honoured to welcome all three of the RMS Honorary Fellows to this meeting and be able to celebrate their important and inspirational work using microscopy in plant sciences.”

Professor Peter Nellist, President of the RMS, said “I believe that it is paramount that we recognise influential achievements in microscopy just as much as we engage and inspire the next generation of microscopists. Our new Honorary Fellows are extremely highly-regarded not only in their field, but also by the wider community for their cutting-edge research and contribution to the field.”

Professor Hawes is recognised for his outstanding work in the field of plant science. In response to announcement, he commented: "I am honoured to be given such a prestigious award from one of the world’s longest established scientific organisations"

Professor Hawes leads an internationally renowned research group studying the organisation and function of the plant endomembrane system, more specifically aspects relating to ER and Golgi body biogenesis and interaction.

His work has resulted in numerous high impact papers and has challenged models resulting in the introduction of the single mobile Golgi secretory unit and its physical interaction with the ER.

His work throughout his career has led to a number of key developments such as the visualisation of the Golgi and ER in planta using GFP fusions, and highlighting the movement of cargo molecules between the Golgi and ER, and the movement and interaction of these organelles with one another.

Professor Hawes is the research lead and head of the doctoral training programme in the University’s Department of Biological and Medical Sciences.

He set up and developed the bioimaging centre which includes electron and transmission microscopes, and confocal microscopes. The development and ‘open’ use of such facilities has inspired and triggered interest in plant biology to not only members of his research group and undergraduate students, but also members of the general public through outreach activities.

Professor Hawes was President of the Royal Microscopical Society from 2004 – 2006 and has been key in both the organising of scientific meetings, courses and conferences as well as a huge number of Outreach activities for the Society since the mid 1980s .

As the RMS notes, “Professor Hawes is viewed by many as a truly inspirational character. His seemingly limitless enthusiasm for science, both at the bench and through helping others achieve their scientific goals and potential, is a rare and valued combination.”

Professor Hawes will be presented with his Honorary Fellowship at the Microscience Microscopy Congress, the flagship event of the Royal Microscopical Society, taking place 29 June to 2 July 2015 in Manchester. Further information can be found at www.mmc2015.org.uk

Find out more about Oxford Brookes’ Department of Biological and Medical Sciences on its dedicated webpages.