Lalita Ramakrishnan, group leader in the University of Cambridge Molecular Immunity Unit, which is housed at the LMB, has been elected to the fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences and to The Royal Society.
The Academy of Medical Sciences represents the diverse spectrum of medical science – from basic research through clinical application to healthcare delivery. Their mission is to promote medical science and its translation into benefits for society. Academy Fellows are elected based on excellence in medical research, their contribution to medicine and society and are drawn from a range of professions.
The Royal Society is a Fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. It seeks to promote excellence in science, electing up to fifty-two new Fellows and up to ten new Foreign Members each year who have made substantial contributions to the improvement of knowledge in the sciences.
Lalita’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which Mycobacterium causes tuberculosis (TB), and why different people have vastly different susceptibilities to the disease. The group has developed the zebrafish as a model to study immunity to tuberculosis – zebrafish are transparent meaning that the infection process in them can be monitored in real time. In addition, genetic tools have enabled the group to understand the basis of host resistance and susceptibility to TB. Lalita’s research is shedding light on how TB causes disease as well as fundamental mechanisms of immune cell chemotaxis, adhesion, aggregation and immune regulation. Findings made in the zebrafish have been borne out in human populations and are informing new strategies for intervention
The LMB congratulates Lalita on her achievement which is foremost a recognition of the importance of her group’s work on the pathology of tuberculosis but also of the importance of microbiology and the work of the Molecular Immunity Unit.