John Skehel

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Sir John Skehel
John James Skehel

(1941-02-27) 27 February 1941 (age 81)
Blackburn, England, United Kingdom
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma mater
Known forresearch on influenza virus
Anita Varley
(m. 1962)
Scientific career
ThesisStudies on cation transport in yeast (1965)
Doctoral advisorAlan Eddy

Sir John James Skehel, FRS, FMedSci (born 27 February 1941)[2][3] is a British virologist and Emeritus scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in London.[4] From 1987 to 2006 he was Director of the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) at Mill Hill which was incorporated into the Crick Institute in 2016.[5]

Education and early life[edit]

Skehel was born in Blackburn to Joseph and Annie Skehel in 1941, and was educated at St. Mary's College, Blackburn and subsequently went to the University of Aberystwyth where he obtained a BSc degree in agricultural biochemistry.

He then completed his postgraduate study at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), where he received his PhD degree in biochemistry in 1966 under the supervision of Alan Eddy, for research on cation transport in yeast.[6]

Career and research[edit]

Following his doctorate, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Aberdeen[2] for research, continuing it at Duke University.[citation needed]

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 Organization (WHO)'s Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza from 1975 to 1993.[4][7]

Awards and honours[edit]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1984.[4] He was awarded the Wilhelm Feldberg Prize in 1986, the Robert Koch Prize in 1987, the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 1988, the ICN International Prize in Virology in 1992, the Royal Medal in 2003 for "his pioneering research into virology", and the Grand Prix scientifique de la Fondation Louis D. (shared with Dutch virologist Ab Osterhaus) of the Institut de France in 2007. Skehel was knighted in the 1997 New Year Honours.[8] In 1998, he became a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci).[9] In November 2013, he was appointed Vice-President and Biological Secretary of the Royal Society. He was made an honorary professor of Liverpool John Moores University in 1993 and given an honorary fellowship in 2007.[3][10] In 2004, he was also awarded an honorary DSc degree from University College London.[11] In 2020 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Soon after graduating he married Anita Varley in 1962, with whom he has two sons.[2]


  1. ^ Louis-Jeantet Prize
  2. ^ a b c "SKEHEL, Sir John (James)". Who's Who. Vol. 2016 (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 Sir John Skehel". Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "Sir John Skehel FMedSci FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

  5. ^ "Emeritus Scientist - John Skehel". London: Archived from the original on 7 June 2016.
  6. ^ Skehel, John James (1965). Studies on cation transport in yeast (PhD thesis). University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. OCLC 643345784.
  7. ^ Skehel, John J.; Wiley, Don C. (2000). "Receptor Binding and Membrane Fusion in Virus Entry: The Influenza Hemagglutinin". Annual Review of Biochemistry. 69 (1): 531–569. doi:10.1146/annurev.biochem.69.1.531. PMID 10966468.
  8. ^ "No. 54663". The London Gazette. 28 January 1997. p. 1095.
  9. ^ "Fellows". Academy of Medical Sciences. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  10. ^ Sir John Skehel: Oration - website of the Liverpool John Moores University
  11. ^ "Honorary Graduands 2004". Archived from the original on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  12. ^ "The American Philosophical Society Welcomes New Members for 2020".