Dr Jean van den Elsen, from our Department of Biology & Biochemistry, has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Biology for his contribution to the advancement of biological sciences. Dr van den Elsen is a structural biologist who specialises on innate immunity and his work has led to a better understanding of the interaction between innate and adaptive immune systems.

He uses these new insights to improve vaccines and therapies for autoimmune diseases. He is also interested in the role of protein glycation in ageing and age-related diseases and develops new tools for diagnosing these diseases.

Originally from the Netherlands, where he did his PhD on bacterial immune recognition, Dr van den Elsen worked in the US and Canada, before joining the University of Bath in 2001 as a lecturer and became a reader in 2011.

Commenting on his election to the Society, Dr van den Elsen said:

“I am absolutely delighted with this recognition, also on behalf of my team, colleagues and collaborators all over the world.

“We aim to continue to resolve important biological questions that lead to better diagnostic tools and therapies and hope to inspire young researchers to join our efforts.”

The Society of Biology is the leading professional body for biologists in the UK, representing over 12,500 life scientists from all areas of the life sciences, as well as over 90 organisations, which make up the diverse landscape of biology.

The Society’s key objectives are to advise government and influence policy, advance biology education and engage and encourage public interest in the life sciences.

Members include practising scientists, students, professionals in academia, industry and education, and non-professionals with an interest in biology. The people invited to become Fellows are those who have excelled in their area of biology, and who have made a prominent contribution to the biosciences.

Other academics to have recently been elected Fellows at the Society from the same department include Professor David Brown and Professor Ravi Acharya.