Professor John Oxford wins microbiology communications award

Professor John Oxford has received an influential award in recognition of his vital work conveying public health messages about influenza, in particular making the recent swine flu pandemic understood by non-scientists.

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Professor John Oxford with Dr Lucy Harper from the Society for Applied Microbiology
Professor John Oxford with Dr Lucy Harper from the Society for Applied Microbiology

A Professor of Virology at Queen Mary, University of London who has spent many years studying the influenza virus, Professor Oxford has now been awarded the Society for Applied Microbiology Communications Award.

Professor Oxford is a regular contributor to TV news and features programmes including BBC's Panorama, Horizon and Newsnight, Radio 4's Today programme, more populist programmes like the Richard & Judy show and has been quoted in innumerable newspaper articles on influenza.

According to the Society for Applied Microbiology's Honorary President Geoff Hanlon: "During these appearances, Professor Oxford has eloquently explained the risk posed by pandemic flu and stated the microbiological facts clearly and concisely in an effort to inform and educate the general public."

When asked about his achievement, Professor Oxford said: "I am honoured by the award. This recognition from my peers is on a serious scientific level and gives me great pleasure. On a different level, I have also received the 'Shakers and Movers' citation from Time Out!"

Professor Oxford is Scientific Director and founder of Retroscreen Virology Ltd, a spin-out company from Queen Mary, University of London based at the BioEnterprises Innovation Centre at the College's Whitechapel campus. Professor Oxford has also published 250 scientific papers and has an historical perspective on the disease and as such, is able to put the swine flu pandemic into context with reference to avian influenza and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.