Anant Parekh, Professor of Physiology and Fellow of Merton College, has been chosen by The Physiological Society to deliver the Annual Review Prize Lecture at the Society’s Annual Conference, Physiology 2023, the flagship event due to take place in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, from 10 - 12 July 2023.
The Annual Review Prize Lecture is The Society's premier award and recognises research that has a wide interest and impact. The Lecture is usually published in the Journal of Physiology and comes with a prize of £500. In recent years, the lecture has been awarded to Nobel Laureates Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe (2012) and Professor John O'Keefe (2016). Previous DPAG prize winners include the late Professor Sir Colin Blakemore FRS, who was awarded the Lecture in 1995, and Professor Gero Miesenböck (2022).
Professor Parekh has received numerous international awards for his research into cell communication that has deepened our understanding of calcium signals and their role in key biological functions and disease, and is leading to the development of new therapeutic drugs targeting calcium channels. He was elected member of Academia Europaea in 2002, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012, and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2019. He is the recipient of the 2002 Wellcome Prize in Physiology, 2009 India International Foundation Prize, 2012 GL Brown Prize from the UK Physiological Society and 2019 Batsheva de Rothschild Prize.
On accepting the invitation, Professor Parekh said: “I am honoured to have been chosen for this prestigious award, joining many colleagues whose works have greatly influenced me. The prize is a reflection both of the outstanding postdoctoral scientists and graduate students I have been fortunate to work with, and of the very supportive environment that DPAG has provided me over many years."
Professor Parekh is presently Chair of a Department at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA and maintains strong formal links with DPAG. The main focus of his team at the NIH is to exploit discoveries on how immune cells are activated by calcium channels into the development of new classes of drug that target the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients and immunological disorders in general.
Professor Parekh said: "A major mission of the NIH is to promote equity, diversity and inclusivity in Science and it is therefore a particular privilege for me to the first BAME to receive the Society’s premier award."