Professor Keith Matthews elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
Keith Matthews, Professor of Parasite Biology, has been elected to join the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Fellows are elected for their outstanding contributions to biomedical and health science, leading research discoveries, and translating developments into benefits for patients and the wider society.
Keith Matthews’s studies on the lifecycle of Trypanosome parasites have led to significant advances in understanding disease severity and spread in Sub-Saharan Africa.
African Trypanosome parasites are spread by the Tsetse fly and cause ‘sleeping sickness’ in humans and the devastating disease ‘nagana’ in cattle and other livestock, causing major agricultural losses.
His research is unravelling the processes that allow parasites to change into a ‘stumpy’ form, which maximises their ability to spread to tsetse flies.
Recent work by his group has also revealed that disease spread may be boosted by social interactions between parasites and competition between species could influence disease severity.
Tackling the disease is difficult as there are no vaccines for cattle and existing drugs are old and have dangerous side effects.
Identifying vulnerable points in the parasite’s lifecycle could lead to new ways to limit the spread of the disease or its severity through drug therapy.
Professor Matthews was 2008 recipient of the C. A. Wright medal from the British Society for Parasitology and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014.
In 2015, he was the Sanofi-Pasteur International laureate for his outstanding contributions to the field of tropical medicine and neglected diseases.
The Academy of Medical Sciences elected 48 new Fellows, including two from the University of Edinburgh.
The new Fellows will be formally admitted to the Academy at a ceremony on 27 June 2018.
“I am honoured to be elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Infectious Disease research is enormously strong at the University of Edinburgh and my laboratory has benefited immensely from this diverse, collegiate and interactive environment.”