John Walker
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board

    John Walker studied chemistry at St Catherine’s College Oxford (1961-65), and in 1969 was awarded the D Phil degree for studies of antibiotics at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in Oxford. During periods of research at the University of Wisconsin USA, and The Pasteur Institute in Paris he developed his expertise in the analysis of proteins, and in 1974, he joined The Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. Here, he cultivated his enduring interest in the mitochondria. In 1978, whilst studying the features of DNA molecules found in the mitochondria, he became interested in the question of how energy in food is transferred into ATP. In 1997, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for providing evidence of the rotary mechanism of the ATP synthase. In 1997, he was appointed as Director of the MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, which became the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in 2009, and since 2013, he has been the Director Emeritus. He uses his knowledge about energy conversion for medical benefit, in 2021 establishing the structure of the mycobacterial ATP synthase as a target for developing new drugs against tuberculosis. Another of his activities is to act as Chair of the Scientific Supervisory Board of the Citrin Foundation.

    he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1995, and in 2012, he was awarded its Copley Medal, the UK's highest scientific accolade. He was knighted for services to Science in 1999. Among numerous awards he has received the Biochemical Society’s CIBA Prize and Medal (1996) and its Keilin Medal (2011), and the Peter Mitchell Medal of the European Bioenergetics Congress (1996). He is a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, an Honorary Fellow of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, a Foreign Member of L’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of The Royal Society of New Zealand, and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded numerous honorary degrees from Universities around the world, including the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa from the University of Oxford in 2001 and from the University of Cambridge in 2021.

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