David Beeson, Professor in Molecular Neurosciences, and Robert MacLaren, Professor of Ophthalmology, have been elected Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Professor Beeson has made an exceptional contribution to the study of neuromuscular disorders where the communication between nerve cells and muscle is impaired. His most recent research has focused on translating molecular knowledge of neuromuscular synapse biology into treatment for inherited (congenital) myasthenic syndromes (CMS). Recent work with patients has led to prospective clinical studies showing the dramatic beneficial effects of β2-adrenergic receptor in treating many forms of CMS.
Professor MacLaren pioneers new treatments for blindness, particularly in patients with incurable retinal diseases, using stem cell-based approaches, gene therapy or electronic retinas. His laboratory is also developing new techniques for cataract and retinal surgery. Together with the University of Oxford in 2014 he co-founded Nightstar, a biotechnology company based at the Wellcome Trust in London, to develop gene therapy treatments for patients with retinal diseases.
Fellowship of the Academy is based on exceptional contributions to the medical sciences, either in the form of original discovery or of sustained contributions to scholarship. Fellows are drawn primarily from biomedical science and academic medicine, but also from veterinary science, dentistry, laboratory science, medical and nursing care and other professions allied to medical science.
In all a total of seven Oxford researchers were elected this year.