Linnean medal awarded to Professor Sophien Kamoun

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The ground-breaking work of Professor Sophien Kamoun at The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, has been recognised with the award of The Linnean Medal.

Professor Kamoun was presented with the prestigious medal at a ceremony of the Linnean Society of London.

Established in 1888, the award is made annually to alternately a botanist or a zoologist or to one of each in the same year.

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Special moment - Professor Sophien Kamoun with the Linnean Medal

In a long and distinguished career, Professor Kamoun has pioneered genomics and molecular biology methods to reveal fundamental insights into the biology and evolution of plant pathogens.

His inventive work in plant pathology has resulted in new approaches to mitigate some of the world’s most serious crop diseases.

On receiving the award, Professor Kamoun said: “I’m deeply honoured to receive the Linnean Medal. I grew up being curious about nature, and dreaming about becoming a scientist. I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have been able to pursue my passion and engage in biological research on a broad range of topics. The thrill of learning something new every day is addictive.

“I want to share this special moment with all my colleagues and collaborators. I’m indebted to many brilliant people with whom I could explore fields as diverse as evolution, computational biology, biochemistry and biophysics.”

The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest active biological society. Founded in 1788 by Sir James Edward Smith (1759–1828), who was its first President, the society takes its name from the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) whose botanical, zoological and library collections have been in its keeping since 1829.

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Ground-breaking science - Professor Kamoun received the medal at the Anniversary Meeting of the Linnean Society of London

Linnean Society president Dr Sandra Knapp said: “We are very pleased to award this Linnean medal to Sophien Kamoun for his ground-breaking work on plant pathogens. The the science of natural history covers all organisms, not just the furry and flowery - and Professor Kamoun’s work in untangling the complex relationships of the oomycetes and their plant hosts is exemplary in uniting strong field observation with ground-breaking techniques using the latest technologies. This is truly natural history for the 21st century.”

The Linnean Medal is the latest honour in the career of Professor Kamoun. Earlier in May he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society - an honour reserved for the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists working in the UK and Commonwealth.