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Slovak Academy of Sciences honours York biochemist

Posted on 1 September 2015

A biochemist from the University of York has been awarded the International Prize of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in recognition of his “outstanding work in the field of natural sciences.”

Professor Tony Wilkinson

Professor Tony Wilkinson’s research focuses on the three-dimensional structures and mechanisms of important biological molecules – in particular on the proteins involved in bacterial cell processes, some of which contribute to disease in humans and animals. 

The Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS) is the country’s main scientific research institution, supporting fundamental and applied science, and publishes a wide range of scholarly and scientific journals.

Professor Wilkinson, of the Structural Biology Laboratory in the Department of Chemistry at York, has enjoyed a long-standing collaboration with Dr Imrich Barák of the Slovak Academy of Sciences Institute of Molecular Biology, dating back to 1995. 

They have worked together in studying systems controlling bacterial development, in particular the chemical events that lead to a bacterial cell abandoning growth and forming a dormant spore which can survive adverse environmental conditions.  Understanding this process can inform developments in medical science, health care and the food industry.

Professor Wilkinson added: “I have long and happy associations with Slovakia and the Slovak Academy of Sciences, and I am delighted to receive this award.”

Dr Barák added:  “I am very happy that my long term friend and collaborator was chosen for this international award by the SAS.

“Our Academy recognized his more than two decades of scientific support in the field of structural biology.”  

The academy awards an International Prize annually to a foreign national in recognition of an outstanding contribution to a particular academic field. The 2015 prize is for work in the natural sciences. 

Professor Wilkinson will attend a formal ceremony at the Primate’s Palace in Bratislava later this week (Friday 4 Sept) where he will be presented with the award.

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