Professor Fiona Powrie FRS, Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences and Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, is appointed Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE), for services to Medical Science.
Professor Powrie has made major contributions to our understanding of the immune system. Her early work provided very important support for the existence of regulatory T lymphocytes, adding very strong data so that it is now universally accepted. Turning her attention to the gut she has been a leader in working out how the bacterial content interacts with the immune system. Her scientific contribution is unique and has been transformational to our understanding of how the gut bacteria and the immune system interact. She has taken this basic research in a translational direction and with her clinical colleagues is actively applying her discoveries to the management of inflammatory bowel disease. Her work has implications for bowel cancer. She has emerged as a very strong scientific leader and inspirational role model for the many young women beginning careers in biomedical science. She was appointed a Governor of the Wellcome Trust in 2018 becoming Deputy Chair in 2022.
Professor Powrie said: ‘This was an absolute surprise. So delighted and thrilled that our work to understand the regulation of the immune response in the gut has been recognised with this honour. I have been privileged to work with so many outstanding early career researchers from all over the world who worked with passion and dedication to address this challenge. This would not have been possible without the support of the University of Oxford and my colleagues in the Kennedy Institute. It is always a challenge to get the life work balance right and I am so lucky to have my husband Adrian and daughters Cara and Jessica by my side during this journey.’