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RVC professor elected a Fellow of the Royal Society
Professor Oliver Pybus' work aims to understand how evolutionary and ecological processes interact in natural populations.

Professor Oliver Pybus' work has contributed significantly to the COVID-19 response. 

Professor Oliver Pybus, vice-principal for research and innovation at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), has received the highest recognition of scientific achievement in the UK, being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship comprising some of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth. Members are elected for life through a peer-review process based on excellence in science. 

Professor Pybus' work aims to understand how evolutionary and ecological processes interact in natural populations. His career has seen him develop tools for inferring population dynamics from gene sequences  and show how analysis of pathogen genomes can provide new insights into virus epidemic history and transmission. 

Professor Pybus' work has also contributed significantly to the COVID-19 response - with the role of virus genomics made feasible in part by ideas he and colleagues developed and applied to other viruses over the previous 20 years. 

His published work includes a high-profile analysis of the mass introduction of COVID-19 into the UK via international travel and the development of the lineage naming scheme (B.1.1.7, BA.1 etc...), helping inform public health and public discourse throughout the pandemic. 

Professor Pybus also holds a Professorship in Evolution and Infectious Disease at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow of New College, Oxford. He was awarded the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 2009 and the Mary Lyon Medal of the Genetics Society in 2019. 

Professor Pybus said: “It is a great honour to be elected a Royal Society Fellow, and humbling to join scientists past and present who inspired and influenced me as a student. I hope to use my position to better support and mentor the researchers of the future. Modern science is a team effort and I am deeply grateful to my collaborators and colleagues, without whom my work would not have been possible.”

Professor Stuart Reid CBE, President and Principal of the RVC, added: “Recognition by the Royal Society is amongst the very highest scientific accolades internationally and I am delighted for Oliver. He brings distinction to himself, his collaborators and his discipline and I am grateful to count him a senior colleague in the leadership team here at the Royal Veterinary College.”  

Image (C) RVC.

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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News Shorts
Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk