Professor Gurdyal Besra, Bardrick Professor of Microbial Physiology and Chemistry in the School of Biosciences, has been awarded the 2014 Jeremy Knowles Award for his contributions to our understanding of the basic chemistry and biochemistry of the cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and his ground-breaking work in the area of tuberculosis T-cell antigens and the CD1 antigen presentation pathway.

Professor Gurdyal Besra

Professor Besra said: “we are honoured to receive this award for our research. We aim to uncover new targets and drugs for tuberculosis and related studies to uncover novel immunotherapeutics”

Professor Besra heads a world-leading multidisciplinary team investigating key aspects of the microbial physiology of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell wall and the potential role of iNKT/CD1d therapeutics. He has been awarded and successfully managed over 35 research grants valued at over £11 million from The Wellcome Trust, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) during the period 2001-2011.

The Jeremy Knowles Award, from the Royal Society of Chemistry, is to recognise and promote the importance of inter- and multi-disciplinary research between chemistry and the life sciences. See the Royal Society of Chemistry website for further details.

Jeremy Knowles was an eminent British British Biological Chemist with a special interest in enzyme mechanism and the application of enzymology. He is perhaps best known for his studies with triose phosphate isomerise which he dubbed the 'perfect' enzyme. Originally based at the University of Oxford, Knowles moved to Harvard in 1974, where he remained until his death in 2008.