28 March 2012
Professor George Lomonossoff of the John Innes Centre has won “Most Promising Innovator” and the overall “Innovator of the Year” prize at this year’s national BBSRC Innovator of the Year Awards, for his work with Dr Frank Sainsbury on the development of a system for the rapid production of vaccines and pharmaceutical proteins in plants.
The technology allows plants to be used as mini factories, manufacturing beneficial proteins that can be used for medicinal and biotechnology purposes. The technique is faster than current methods and so it offers an extremely effective way of creating vaccines. His work is already being used by Medicago, a Canadian biotechnology company, to develop a vaccine for the H5N1 avian influenza virus. It has also been used by other research groups at JIC and in other laboratories to help understand many aspects of fundamental plant biology and to rapidly evaluate new vaccines for application in humans and animals.
Professor Lomonossoff of the John Innes Centre, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, and former JIC PhD student Dr Frank Sainsbury, of Laval University in Canada, received their prize and trophy from Business Secretary, Vince Cable.
This is the third year in a row that scientists from the Norwich Research Park have collected prizes at the ‘Innovator of the Year Awards.’
The BBSRC Innovator of the Year Award is a competition designed to recognise and reward scientists who are ensuring that the UK’s excellent bioscience research is translated into outcomes that positively affect economic growth and quality of life for everyone. The award, now in its fourth year, was established with a view to encouraging researchers to consider the potential of their research and take the necessary steps to maximise the social and economic impact of the excellent work they do.