The Society for General Microbiology’s 2015 Prize Medal has been awarded to Sir David Baulcombe, Royal Society Research Professor and Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge. Sir David was a co-discoverer of the first 'small interfering RNA' (siRNA) and showed that these molecules have a role in gene silencing. Sir David’s discovery of siRNAs in plants, while working at the Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, has lead to huge advances in the field of medicine. In 2009, Sir David received his knighthood for services to plant science. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 2001.
Sir David said of his award: 'I came into virology without any background, knowledge or relevant experience – I was fascinated with the science and the potential application. The Society for General Microbiology was a great help for such a novice – especially in the early days. It introduced me to the virology community and provided a good platform for our work through the Journal of General Virology and the meetings. It is a great honour to get this award from a Society that I value so much.'
The prestigious Prize Medal is awarded to an outstanding microbiologist who is a global leader in his or her field and whose work has had a far-reaching impact beyond the discipline of microbiology. The recipient is awarded their engraved medal and £1000 at the Society’s Annual Conference.