John Skehel

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John James Skehel
Born 27 February 1941
Citizenship United Kingdom
Nationality United Kingdom
Fields Virology
Institutions National Institute for Medical Research
Alma mater University of Aberystwyth
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology
Known for research into the influenza virus
Notable awards Wilhelm Feldberg Prize (1986)
Robert Koch Prize (1987)
Louis Jeantet Prix de Medecin (1988)
Royal Medal (2003)

Sir John James Skehel, FRS (born 27 February 1941[1]) is a British virologist. He was born in Blackburn to Joseph and Annie Skehel in 1941, and was educated at St. Mary's College, Blackburn before being accepted to the University of Aberystwyth for a BSc in agricultural biochemistry. He was elected as Biological Secretary of the Royal Society in July 2013 and will take up the position on 20 November 2013.

Soon after graduating he married Anita Varley, with whom he has two sons.[1] He moved to study at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, completing his PhD in biochemistry in 1966 and moving to the University of Aberdeen for research, continuing it at Duke University.

In 1969 he returned to Britain and began work at the National Institute for Medical Research on the influenza virus. In 1984 he was made head of the virology division, followed by a promotion in 1987 to director of the Institute. He was director of the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza from 1975 to 1993.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1984.[2] He was awarded the Wilhelm Feldberg Prize in 1986, the Robert Koch Prize in 1987, the Louis Jeantet Prix de Medecin in 1988, the ICN International Prize in Virology in 1992, knighted in 1996 and the Royal Medal in 2003 for "his pioneering research into virology".

His studies and discoveries in the mechanisms by which influenza virus binds to the host cell, and in virus-cell membrane fusion have had a fundamental impact on the field.'[3] He was made an honorary professor of Liverpool John Moores University in 1993 and given an honorary degree in 2007.[1] In 2004 he was also given an honorary degree from University College London.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Professor Sir John Skehel". Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  2. ^ "Fellows". Royal Society. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Royal Medal recent winners". Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  4. ^ "Honorary Graduands 2004". Archived from the original on 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-11-15.