Academy of medical sciences.pngTwo Royal Free London doctors said they were ‘honoured’ to have been elected Fellows of the prestigious Academy of Medical Sciences.

Professor Chris Denton, consultant rheumatologist and head of the Centre for Rheumatology at the Royal Free Hospital, and Professor Alison Rodger, consultant in infectious diseases at the Royal Free Hospital, are among the 58 biomedical and health scientists to be elected to the academy this year.

There are around 1,400 fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an independent, expert body which aims to advance biomedical and health research and its translation into benefits for society. 

Professor Denton chairs The UK scleroderma study group and leads the scleroderma service at the Royal Free Hospital, which cares for more than 1,400 patients across the country. 

Professor Denton is a professor of experimental rheumatology at UCL’s Division of Medicine. His research focuses on systemic sclerosis, a severe autoimmune rheumatic disease that leads to fibrosis and vascular damage in the skin and internal organs.  

He said: “It is a great personal honour to be elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and join such an outstanding group of UK medical scientists.  This award also recognises several decades in progress in the field of scleroderma (systemic sclerosis), a rare and severe autoimmune condition.  The Royal Free London is justifiably recognised as a global leader in this disease and works in close partnership with scientists at UCL to improve outcomes for patients."

Professor Rodger’s research focuses on HIV, having led a landmark study finding that people on effective HIV treatment, where the virus is suppressed, have no chance of infecting their partner sexually.

The results of this study underpin the global U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) campaign, as well as international guidelines, the UK HIV action plan. The results have also contributed to reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination, encouraging early testing and treatment, and combatting unjust HIV criminalisation laws.

Professor Rodger, who is also professor of infectious diseases at UCL’s Institute for Global Health, is currently principal investigator of a five-year research programme aimed at improving the mental and physical wellbeing in people living with HIV. Beyond HIV, she has also made important contributions to microbiome research in new-borns, inclusion health and COVID-19.

She said: “It's a huge honour to be elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. I've been extremely fortunate throughout my career to work with outstanding colleagues in academia, clinical services, public health and importantly from affected communities. I’m very pleased that the work we have done together to support global elimination of HIV transmission and improve health and well-being for people living with HIV is being recognised through this fellowship.”

Professor Denton and Professor Rodger will be formally admitted to the academy in September.

Image: Professor Alison Rodger and Professor Chris Denton