Hugh Pelham

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Sir Hugh Pelham

Hugh Reginald Brentnall Pelham

(1954-08-26) 26 August 1954 (age 64)[1]
EducationMarlborough College
Alma mater
Mariann Bienz (m. 1996)
Scientific career
ThesisTranscription and Translation in Reticulocyte Lysates (1978)
Doctoral advisor
Doctoral studentsSean Munro[5]

Sir Hugh Reginald Brentnall Pelham, FRS FMedSci[6][7] (born 26 August 1954)[1] is a cell biologist who has contributed to our understanding of the body's response to rises in temperature through the synthesis of heat shock proteins.[7] He served as director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) between 2006 and 2018.[8]


Pelham was educated at Marlborough College in Marlborough, Wiltshire and Christ's College, Cambridge. He graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Natural Sciences followed by a PhD for research on transcription and translation in immature blood cells (Reticulocytes).[9] His PhD was supervised by Richard J. Jackson and Tim Hunt,[7] who went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001.

Career and research[edit]

Pelham is an authority on the movement of proteins within cells. Pelhams's work has explained how some proteins can protect cells from damage. He has also shown how cells remove damaged or unwanted proteins – vital for maintaining their healthy functioning. More recently, his research investigates how proteins are modified and sorted to their correct places within cells and aims to find ways of blocking these processes.[7][10][11][12][13]

Pelham been a visiting professor at the University of Zurich and held many posts at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, where he succeeded Richard Henderson to become the LMB's Director in 2006.[7][8] He has been an Honorary Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Cambridge since 2015.[14]

Awards and honours[edit]

Pelham was knighted by Elizabeth II in the 2011 Birthday Honours and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1988.[7] His certificate of election reads:

Pelham gave the Florey Lecture in 1992, was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 1998.[6] In 1999 he gave the Croonian Lecture and he was awarded the King Faisal International Prize in 1996.[3] He won the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 1991 and the EMBO Gold Medal in 1989. He was awarded the Colworth Medal from the Biochemical Society in 1988 and elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 1985.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d Anon (2015). Pelham, Sir Hugh (Reginald Brentnall). Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. ^ BIENZ, Dr Mariann, (Lady Pelham). Who's Who. 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b "Professor Hugh R. Pelham Winner of the 1996 KFIP Prize for Science". Archived from the original on 10 December 2015.
  4. ^ Louis-Jeantet Prize
  5. ^ Short, Ben (2011). "Sean Munro: Revealing the Golgi's true identity". The Journal of Cell Biology. 192 (1): 4–5. doi:10.1083/jcb.1921pi. ISSN 0021-9525. PMC 3019565. PMID 21220504.
  6. ^ a b "Hugh Pelham FMedSci". London: Academy of Medical Sciences. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Sir Hugh Pelham FMedSci FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015.
  8. ^ a b Pelham, Hugh (2013). "Building for the future". eLife. 2. doi:10.7554/eLife.00856.
  9. ^ Pelham, Hugh R. B. (1978). Transcription and Translation in Reticulocyte Lysates (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 500538683. EThOS
  10. ^ Hugh Pelham's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Pelham, Hugh R. B.; Jackson, Richard J. (1976). "An Efficient mRNA-Dependent Translation System from Reticulocyte Lysates". European Journal of Biochemistry. 67 (1): 247–256. doi:10.1111/j.1432-1033.1976.tb10656.x. ISSN 0014-2956. PMID 823012.
  12. ^ Pelham, Hugh R.B. (1986). "Speculations on the functions of the major heat shock and glucose-regulated proteins". Cell. 46 (7): 959–961. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(86)90693-8. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 2944601.
  13. ^ Munro, Sean; Pelham, Hugh R.B. (1987). "A C-terminal signal prevents secretion of luminal ER proteins". Cell. 48 (5): 899–907. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(87)90086-9. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 3545499.
  14. ^ "Pelham, Sir Hugh (Reginald Brentnall)". Who's Who 2018. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2017. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.30466. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  15. ^ "Certificate of election EC/1988/30: Pelham, Hugh Reginald Brentnall". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015.
  16. ^ "EMBO member: Hugh R.B. Pelham". Heidelberg: EMBO.