Professor Steve Ward from the Department of Life Sciences has been elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the British Pharmacological Society (BPS).

Honorary Fellows are elected for life in recognition of sustained excellence and leadership in science, healthcare, and public service and include Nobel Laureates, international prize-winners, long-standing members of the Society, and those who have advanced the disciplines of Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics through research, leadership and contribution to BPS.

Professor Ward said: “I am absolutely delighted and excited to receive this distinction and I pay tribute to the many students, colleagues and international collaborators over the years who share in this recognition. I am proud to join the previous seven esteemed pharmacologists affiliated with Bath (past and present) who have received this recognition over the years.

“Remarkably, the University of Bath has one of the highest number academics who have been recipients of the Honorary Fellowship! I think this award is therefore, also a reflection of the importance and strength of pharmacology at the University of Bath.

“Pharmacology lies at the heart of modern biomedical science, linking together chemistry, physiology and pathology. Pharmacology embraces inter-disciplinary strategies and skills, requiring understanding and application of biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, neuroscience, molecular and cell biology as well as genetics, immunology and cancer biology.”

Professor Ward was elected because of his excellence in research, particularly in the area of cell signalling in inflammation and cancer as well as drug discovery.

His contributions have had a major influence on characterising key elements of a signalling pathway in the immune system controlled by a molecule called PI3-kinase. This pathway is linked to pathogenesis of multiple diseases including autoimmune diseases and some cancers.

He has published many highly cited papers and has organised several seminal international symposia that significantly shaped and influenced the worldwide focus on PI3K as a tractable drug target - indeed drugs targeting this pathway are now being used to treat some cancer patients.

He has over 7,000 citations of his work and has given over 150 invited research presentations at national and international conferences as well as research institutes, University departments and pharmaceutical companies.

In addition to his significant contribution to the field, the award also recognises his contributions as a teacher, supervisor and mentor of postgraduate students for over 35 years, and in 2015 he received the University of Bath’s Best Doctoral Supervision Award.

Prof Ward has also served on numerous international editorial boards, as well as funding panels for the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, and Arthritis UK. He also held fellowships from the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society and is a recipient of the BPS Quintiles Immunopharmacology Prize, and a DSc from the University of Bath.

The BPS also elected Dr Paul Mitchell (also from the Department of Life Sciences) as a Fellow this year in recognition of his contribution to the field.