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Fiona was recognised for her outstanding contributions to immunology, and her election brings the number of current National Academy of Sciences members from the Kennedy Institute to three.

Fiona Powrie, Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences and Director of the Kennedy Institute, was announced this week as one of 26 newly elected international members to the National Academy of Sciences. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honours that a scientist can receive. In their announcement the Academy praised her outstanding contribution to immunology.

Fiona's research interests include characterisation of the interaction between the intestinal microbiota and the host immune system and how this mutualistic relationship breaks down in inflammatory bowel disease. Her work has identified the functional role of regulatory T cells in intestinal homeostasis and identified the cytokine IL-23 pathway as a therapeutic target in chronic intestinal inflammation.

"I did my postdoctoral training in the US and remain connected to the US immunology community," said Fiona. "I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition from them – it means a lot. Individual recognition like this always involves the work of many others. I am so grateful to the outstanding members of my lab and collaborators I have had the privilege to work with, funders particularly the Wellcome Trust and the University of Oxford for supporting my work."

Fiona is the third Professor from the Kennedy Institute to be elected, joining previous Kennedy Directors Professors Sir Marc Feldmann and Sir Ravinder (Tiny) Maini as a member of the Academy.

Professor Andy Carr commented: "I and the whole department extend our congratulations to Fiona on this prestigious award which recognises her huge contribution to global scientific discovery and to academic leadership."

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and—with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine—provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organisations.

The 120 members and 26 international members elected this week bring the total number of active members to 2,403 and the total number of international members to 501.