Medical Research Council Cambridge scientist knighted in Queen’s birthday honours list


Dr Hugh Pelham, Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), has been honoured with a knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours for 2011. The award is for services to science.

Hugh has been Director of the LMB since 2006, and a staff member since 1981. He became Head of the Cell Biology Division in 1992, and deputy director of LMB in 1996.

Hugh has pioneered research into how proteins help to protect the body against the effects of extreme heat at the cellular level. He has worked on how proteins find their right places within cells and how misshapen proteins are broken down to be recycled. How these processes work in a normal cell can give clues to what is happening at a cellular level in many human diseases. Hugh has been internationally recognized with numerous awards for his research and was made a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1988.

As Director of the LMB, Hugh is responsible for over 400 scientists and staff, and has played a major part in the creation of the new £200m building for the LMB, due for completion towards the end of 2012. Providing first class facilities, it will be the flagship building for the extension of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

The primary goal of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is to understand major biological processes at the molecular level, with the ultimate aim of alleviating human disease.

A birthplace of modern molecular biology, the LMB is a world-class, multidisciplinary laboratory exploring some of the most complex problems in basic biological science. Since the current laboratory building was opened by the MRC in 1962, the work carried out by LMB scientists has led to numerous awards, including nine Nobel Prizes shared between 13 LMB scientists, leading to the nickname ‘The Nobel Prize factory’. Scientists from the institute have founded several very successful biotechnology start-up companies and continue work on translational research to develop new methods of diagnosing diseases and new treatments.


The Medical Research Council has been at the forefront of scientific discovery to improve human health. Founded in 1913 to tackle tuberculosis, the MRC now invests taxpayers’ money in some of the best medical research in the world across every area of health.

MRC [Medical Research Council]