The Ker Memorial Prize and Lecture

The Ker Memorial Prize Winner 2017 - Dr Eleanor Silvester

The Ker Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the PhD student who has submitted the best thesis on Infectious Diseases during that year.

Edinburgh Infectious Diseases is delighted to announce that the 2017 winner of the Ker Memorial Prize is Dr Eleanor Silvester in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

Eleanor carried out her PhD under the supervision of Prof Keith Matthews on "Conservation of quorum-sensing signal responses and cross-species interactions between Trypanosoma brucei and Trypanosoma congolense".  As part of her prize she will present her work at the Edinburgh Infectious Diseases symposium on Thursday 1 June, and receive £500.

Eleanor's PhD research was supported by a studentship from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Ker Memorial Lecturer 2017 - Professor Peter Openshaw

We are delighted to have Prof Peter Openshaw from Imperial College London to give the Ker Memorial Lecture this year.  Peter will speak about his work on viral lung disease, vaccination and immunopathogenesis of viral disease.

Peter (right) is Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London and an Honorary Physician in the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the St Mary's Campus of the Imperial College NHS Trust. He was appointed as an NIHR Senior Investigator in 2013 and became President of the British Society for Immunology in 2014, the first clinician to lead the organisation. 

Peter trained at Guy's Hospital, the Brompton and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (Hammersmith).  His PhD training (with Ita Askonas FRS at the National Institute for Medical Research, 1985-1988) led to a Wellcome Senior Fellowship and the creation of the Academic Department of Respiratory Medicine at St Mary's. 

His research is on the immunology of the lung, viral lung disease, vaccination and immunopathogenesis of viral disease.  He was among the first 100 elected Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999), and served on Wellcome Trust's Clinical Interest Group (1997-2003), Infection and Immunity (2002-2004) and the Tropical and Clinical Panels (2006-2008) and the Immunology and Infectious Diseases panel (2008-2010). He has served on many other national and international grant bodies.  He became a member of British Society for Immunology's Council in 2006 and a member of the Department of Health's Scientific Advisory Group on Pandemic Influenza in December 2007. In 2009 Peter was invited by the Department of Health to become a member of the Scientific Advisory Group in Emergencies (SAGE), chaired by the Chief Government Scientist, which advised the UK Government on pandemic influenza. He became vice-Chair of NERVTAG in 2015.

In May 2009, he convened a UK-wide consortium of research groups to study hospitalised patients with H1N1/09 infection, Mechanisms of Severe Accute Influenza Consortium (MOSAIC). This involved 45 co-investigators in 8 cities, focusing on a comprehensive investigation of hospitalised patients with influenza.He was Vice President of the European Scientific Working group on Influenza (ESWI) for 5 years, a member of ISARIC and a co-applicant on the EU FP7 PREPARE grant. He has a Sattelite affiliation with the Frances Crick Institute, London and is an NIHR Senior Investigator.  

He received the Chanock Award in 2012 for lifetime contribution to RSV research in Santa Fe, New Mexico and delivered the Croonian lecture at the Royal College of Physicians in February 2013 on the topic of influenza pandemics.

The Ker Memorial Prizes

The Ker Prizes are very generously supported by Miss Aileen Ker, in memory of two outstanding Edinburgh physicians, her grandfather Dr. Claude Buchanan Ker, and his son (her father), Dr. Frank Leighton Ker.

The Ker family also support the presentation of the Ker Memorial Lecture, given by an eminent invited scientist in Infectious Diseases.

  • Dr. Claude Buchanan Ker (1867-1925) spent his professional medical career in Edinburgh, working ceaselessly to improving the treatment of infectious diseases.  He is best remembered for his tireless efforts to build the City Fever Hospital which opened in Colinton in 1903, and of which he was medical superintendent for 21 years. 
  • Dr. Frank Leighton Ker (1907-1966), began his medical career in Edinburgh and went on to carry out his main work at the East Birmingham Hospital, where he became medical superintendent in 1950.

The glowing and heartfelt obituaries written for both these men (links above), show the enormous regard and affection in which they were held, and to which the Ker Memorial Prize and Lecture now provide fitting testimony. 

Past awardees of the Ker Memorial Prize and Lecture.

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