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Dr Martin Walsh, Life Sciences Deputy Director at Diamond Light Source, has been today named to the Honours' list, and will receive an OBE for services to life sciences work.
Upon receiving the news, Martin says:
I am pleased to receive this award and consider it to be a tribute to the amazing team of researchers whom I have had the privilege to work with. The passion and dedication shown by Diamond staff and users who worked during the pandemic investigating ways to identify new therapies was and continues to be inspiring. To think that in late January 2020 when we started work on SARS-CoV-2 that this effort would grow from a small, dedicated team consisting of Petra Lukacik, Claire Strain-Damerell and David Owen and grow exponentially in a matter of months to a global collaborative network of researchers is humbling. The foresight to invest in Diamond meant that we were able to rapidly exploit Diamond’s structural biology capabilities especially in macromolecular crystallography and CryoEM enabling Diamond to make the largest contribution to the structural understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and this is something everyone at Diamond, our users and the wider scientific community can be proud of.
I am encouraged to see that basic science is being recognised as the root of discoveries, and this award, I hope, will continue to further raise the public awareness of the importance of academic research for understanding the basis of infectious disease and ensuring we are better prepared for tackling emerging pathogens that could lead to future pandemics. The beauty of being part of a synchrotron light source is that discoveries are not limited to just one field of research but permeate virtually all fields of knowledge: from energy and battery research to engineering and new materials. Our applications are endless, and we are grateful to our 16,000 strong user community who bring some of the most challenging scientific questions of our time.
This recognition is symbolic not only of Martin’s work in the field, but also marks the progress and promise of the world-changing science that Diamond enables and recognises all those who work and use Diamond.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone at Diamond who’s dedicated expertise has resulted in the impressive contribution Diamond Light Source has made to SARS-COV-2 biology and therapeutics. This honour acknowledges the achievements of Diamond and the importance of investing in large scale science facilities developing cutting-edge technologies with the best of the best from around the world. The work of our scientists, engineers and our support teams covering user support, software and computing, finance, outreach and public engagement, building infrastructure and management inspires truly ground-breaking research, and it is an honour to be representing Diamond Light Source as the UK’s national synchrotron in these efforts. Our close collaboration with institutions such as the Research Complex at Harwell, the Rosalind Franklin Institute, the University of Oxford and key research partnerships such as the COVID Moonshot initiative show the brilliance of the UK science community in solving true 21st century challenges.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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