The winners of the inaugural Vivian Moses Prize were announced at an event to celebrate the life of Vivian Moses on 22 May 2019. The Prize is awarded to members of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS) research community for significant advancement in biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology or genetics.
(from left to right) - Prof Richard Pickersgill, Madeleine Hart, Dr Michael Schorsh, Ismail Uddin
It has been made possible by a generous legacy from former Head of the School of Biological Sciences Professor Vivian Moses, who sadly passed away in December 2017.
The winner of this year’s prize was Postdoctoral Research Assistant Dr Michael Schorsh, who was Lead Author for a paper titled ‘A unique ferredoxin acts as a player in the low-iron response of photosynthetic organisms’, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. Postdoctoral Research Assistant Dr Kalina Davies was runner up for a paper titled ‘Multifactorial processes underlie parallel opsin loss in neotropical bats’, for which she was the Co-Lead Author. Former PhD students Ismail Uddin and Madeleine Hart shared third place.
A panel of six academic staff established the shortlist and the winner. It was a tough decision and the panel decided to focus on work clearly done within the School, which resulted in a high-profile paper with PhD or Postdoctoral Research Assistant as first author and SBCS academic as corresponding author.
Professor Vivian Moses was former Head of the School of Biological Sciences.
He graduated with a BA in Biochemistry at Cambridge (1949). Before and after his first degree he had short jobs during which he developed practical skills in microbiology, and was awarded a PhD in Microbiology at UCL (1953). After 3 years as an Assistant Lecturer at UCL, he moved to a post-doctoral position at UCLA to work with Melvin Calvin (whose work on the Benson-Calvin metabolic pathway of carbon fixation in photosynthesis was recognised by a Nobel Prize).
In 1971 he returned to Britain as Professor of Microbiology at Queen Mary College (QMC), a post he occupied for 22 years until his retirement in 1993.
He was the Dean of the Faculty of Science for three years in the early 1980’s and from 1987 to 1991 he was Head of the School of Biological Sciences, at a time when senior management of the college was experiencing difficulties that affected all of the College and the School in particular.
Under the terms of Professor Moses' Will, he left SBCS a legacy of £10,000. This is to be disbursed each year for a period of ten years in an approximately equal amount to such members of the academic staff, post graduate research students or postdoctoral scientists active in research (in any area of microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry or genetics) who have significantly advanced his or her subject.