Two St John’s scientists awarded Royal Society of Chemistry prizes

Date 12 June 2024

Professor Angela Russell and Professor Robert Hoye have won prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of brilliance in research and innovation.

Angela Russell-headshot

Angela Russell, Bernard Taylor Fellow in Chemistry and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in Oxford’s Departments of Chemistry and Pharmacology, has been awarded the Chemistry Biology Interface mid-career prize: Jeremy Knowles Award. This recognises outstanding contributions made by a mid-career scientist working at the chemistry and life science interface.

Professor Russell’s research seeks to develop an effective drug to treat children with the fatal muscle-wasting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) through increasing the levels of utrophin, a muscle protein. Utrophin is related to dystrophin (the protein that is absent in DMD), and has the potential to act as a substitute for dystrophin and restore muscle function in patients. Laboratory research led by Professor Russell’s group revealed that utrophin production can be increased in the body using molecules that bind to a protein called the arylhydrocarbon receptor. The group are now working to develop candidate molecules that bind to this receptor and which could provide long-term benefits for all patients with DMD.

Professor Russell said: ‘I am delighted to receive this recognition of our work over the last 20 years towards an effective treatment for the devastating neuromuscular disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Throughout this endeavour has been, and continues to be, a team effort. This prize also recognises all of the contributions over the years, for which I am incredibly grateful, from my co-workers, collaborative partners, our funders, charities, and importantly patients and their families.’

Find out more about Professor Russell's prize here.

Robert_Hoye square

Robert Hoye, Associate Professor of Inorganic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded the Beilby Medal and Prize. This recognises work of exceptional practical significance in chemical engineering, applied materials science, energy efficiency or a related field.

Professor Hoye’s research sits at the interface of chemistry, materials science, and engineering, and focuses on developing new light-sensitive materials for renewable energy applications and healthcare imaging technologies. A key achievement was his discovery and development of a new type of semiconductor that can tolerate imperfections, enabling efficient performances using low-temperature, cost-effective production methods.

Applications include novel energy devices, such as photovoltaics that harvest ambient light to power Internet of Things electronics, besides photoelectrochemical cells for clean fuels. In 2024, he created the start-up company NanoPrint Innovations Ltd to commercialise a reactor his team developed for depositing next-generation thin film semiconductors for these devices. Professor Hoye has also developed devices that can detect X-rays with ultra-low doses, which can make medical imaging safer and more effective.

Professor Hoye said: ‘I am humbled to receive this award, particularly the recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of my work. I am grateful to the support from the RSC, The Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining, and The Society of Chemical Industry for this award, as well as to my group members (past and present) and mentors, who should share in this recognition.’

Find out more about Professor Hoye's prize here.

Find out more about all the Oxford prizewinners.

The Royal Society of Chemistry awards are among the oldest and most prestigious research prizes in the world, having recognised excellence in the chemical sciences for more than 150 years. Further information about the RSC Prizes can be found on the RSC website.