Department of Chemistry

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Professor Christopher Schofield has been named winner of the prestigious Interdisciplinary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry.  Professor Schofield has won the award for pioneering work on the mechanisms of activity and resistance to antibiotics. Receiving the award, Professor Schofield said: “I was exceptionally surprised to receive the award, as I was not aware I had been nominated. I am particularly pleased to receive the Interdisciplinary Prize as it reflects the nature of much of our group’s work, which is at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine. Our work is highly collaborative, so I’m honoured to accept on behalf of current and past group members as well as our collaborators, both in the UK and abroad.”

Professor Schofield was born and raised on the Wirral peninsula in the North West of England. He now lives in Oxford. In winning the award, Professor Schofield also receives £5,000 and a medal. Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “Over the years, our lives have been significantly improved by the chemical sciences, from medicines and food to the environment itself. We are proud of the contribution the chemical sciences make to our global community, which is why it is right for us to recognise important innovations and expertise such as these.  Our Prizes and Awards recognise people from a range of different specialisms, backgrounds and locations. Every winner is an inspiration to the chemistry community and will play an incredibly important role in enriching people’s lives for generations to come.”

Professor Schofield’s work attempts to understand how microbes make antibiotics, how naturally occurring antibiotics work, and understanding the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. The work has contributed to the development of compounds, some now in clinical use, that hit the same targets as penicillins, but which don’t suffer the same liabilities with respect to resistance.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards and Prizes are awarded in recognition of originality and impact of research, or for each winner’s contribution to the chemical sciences industry or education. They also acknowledge the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, as well as the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.

Of those to have won a Royal Society of Chemistry Award, an illustrious list of 50 have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including 2016 Nobel laureates Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa.

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