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Biochemical Society Award for Researcher

04 April 2024

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Dr Sam Mugford has received a prestigious award for his outstanding service in supporting the research of the John Innes Centre. 

Sam, a research assistant in the group of Professor Saskia Hogenhout, has been recognised by the Biochemical Society’s 2025 Awards with the Research Support award. 

“This is a huge honour and an amazing surprise,” said Sam. “I’m enormously grateful to the Biochemical Society for the award; to Saskia Hogenhout for nominating me and for all those that supported the nomination. It’s really pleasing to see that there are awards like this that provide recognition for staff in support roles working in a research environment.” 

The Research Support Award, introduced in 2022, celebrates the skills and experience of support staff in education, research and industry. 

As the winner in a strongly contested field, Sam will give an Award Lecture during 2025.  

Sam’s research investigates how plants respond to aphid attacks and how aphids are able to manipulate those responses. 

During 11 years in the Hogenhout group, Sam has researched aphid saliva proteins and how they suppress plant immunity. He has provided technical support for projects in molecular genetics, genome sequencing, population genetics, bioinformatics, cell biology and protein biochemistry. 

His nomination stressed his contribution as a mentor and supervisor of research students and his engagement in the social activities of the John Innes Centre. 

“As well as being an excellent place to do science, the institute has a very collegiate and collaborative culture and that is something I am keen to help support and maintain,” said Sam. 

After completing a PhD in the Plant Science department at Oxford University, Sam Joined the John Innes Centre in 2007 working on plant metabolism in Professor Anne Osbourn’s group and later in the group of Professor Alison Smith. 

Professor Saskia Hogenhout said: “I am delighted that Sam’s inspiring contribution to the success of our research has been recognised with this prestigious award.” 

Each year, the Biochemical Society presents a series of prestigious awards that recognise excellence and achievement in both specific and general fields of science. Nine of these awards are presented annually, with the remaining awarded either biennially or triennially. Candidates are nominated by their peers and the winners are agreed by a judging panel of respected scientists from across a range of different scientific backgrounds. 

Winners will receive their prize and deliver an award or medal lecture in 2025. All of the awards and medal lectureships carry prize money and winners will be invited to submit an article to one of the Society’s journals.

This story was originally posted by our partner, the John Innes Centre, on their website here. 

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