Queen's Birthday Honour for MRC scientist

Dr Richard Henderson, Molecular Biologist and Biophysicist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), was made a Companion of Honour in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to electron microscopy of biological molecules.

Following a PhD in Cambridge, Richard worked at Yale University before returning to the MRC LMB where he has been working since 1973 on using electron microscopy, a technique which bombards proteins or other large biological molecules with electrons rather than x-rays, so that the atomic structure of proteins can be determined. This has allowed us to see the structure of large, flexible and complex proteins, which have been impossible to analyse by traditional x-ray crystallography techniques.

During his career, Richard has actively supported science across the UK and the rest of the world, including being a member of the MRC Council from 2008-2014. He has been recognised many times for his work, including being elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1983. Most recently Richard shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2017 for developing cryo-electron microscopy, which involves flash-cooling molecules in a thin layer of aqueous solution before imaging them.

Richard commented: “It is a great honour to be named as a Companion of Honour, following in the footsteps of other LMB scientists and my undergraduate teacher from Edinburgh, Peter Higgs.” 

Access the full list of the individuals recognised in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

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