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Professor Robin May

Professor Robin May takes up the post at London's oldest Higher Education Institution, succeeding Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, who will continue to give a small number of lectures at Gresham in 2022-3 as an Emeritus Professor.

Robin is Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Birmingham and is currently serving as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Food Standards Agency. He has spent most of his career studying host-pathogen interactions, with a particular interest in how some microbes are able to manipulate the human immune system to their own benefit. He has a long-standing commitment to science communication and has won several prestigious awards, including Fellowship of the American Academy of Microbiology and the Colworth Medal.

At a time when higher education is increasingly driven by commercial factors, organisations like Gresham College have never been more important and so I am absolutely delighted to be taking up this post.

Professor Robin May, Institute of Microbiology and Infection

Professor May said: “At a time when higher education is increasingly driven by commercial factors, organisations like Gresham College have never been more important and so I am absolutely delighted to be taking up this post. ”

“Over the last two years, we all witnessed first-hand the enormous power that microbes have to change the world. But as well as causing terrible disease, microbes are also fundamental to the air we breathe, the food we eat and even the ground we stand on. In my lectures at Gresham, I will be exploring some of the amazing feats that microbes achieve and some of the surprising ways in which they affect our day to day life and shape our behaviour."

Professor May will continue the 425-year-old tradition of delivering free lectures aimed at the public within the City of London and beyond. Gresham College live streams lectures online and delivers them to physical audiences in London, with over 8 million views of lectures online last year. More than 2,500 past lectures are freely available to view on the College’s website.

Dr Simon Thurley, Provost of Gresham College, said: “I am delighted to appoint Robin as Professor of Physic at Gresham College. This is one of our oldest and most prestigious Professorships, going for 425 years, and he will be an enthusiastic and brilliant addition to the College.”

Dr Wendy Piatt, CEO of Gresham College, said: “I am thrilled to welcome such a talented communicator to the team at Gresham. Robin is a worthy successor to Professor Chris Whitty and we look forward to his lecture series on the marvels of microbiology.”

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