Royal Microscopical Society Medal Series

The RMS Medal Series awards scientific achievements in each of the Science Sections as well as awarding the unsung heroes and those who volunteer a huge amount of their time and energy to the RMS, helping the next generation of microscopists.

Nominations for the 2019 RMS Medal Series have now closed. 

The next round of nominations will open in 2020 for the 2021 medals.

Nominations should be sent to Debbie Hunt. Nominators should submit a curriculum vitae for the nominee and a statement (maximum length 1 page) outlining the merits of the candidate and their suitability for the medal.  

The closing date for 2019 nominations was Monday 30 April 2018.

Previous Winners:

President’s Medal for Services to the Society
  • The RMS President’s Medal is awarded for an exceptional voluntary contribution to the work of the RMS.
  • 2015 Winner
    • Dr Chris Hammond, University of Leeds

      Dr Hammond is recognised for his numerous contributions to the RMS through his voluntary roles as Executive Honorary Secretary, Archivist and an Outreach Committee Member. He co-founded the AMFES Scheme (A Microscope For Every School), providing funding towards microscopes purchased by schools nationwide, he has successfully organised the Light Microscopy Course for over 20 years and at the RMS’ flagship event the Microscience Microscopy Congress, he can always be found on the Learning Zone, an area designed to help and advise microscopists at all stages of their career. He also generously authored one of the RMS Handbook Series – ‘Introduction to Crystallography’ and refurbishes microscopes donated to the Society back to prime condition.  His unfaltering enthusiasm and motivation for the science means he has inspired and helped so many of the newest generation of microscopists and the RMS are pleased to be able to celebrate all he has accomplished. 

  • 2016 Winner
    • Professor Vyvyan Howard, University of Ulster

      Professor Howard, an Emeritus Professor at Ulster University, has served as both the Honorary Treasurer and President of the RMS, as well as holding the post of General Editor of the Journal of Microscopy from 1986-1991.
      During this period, he maintained the Journal of Microscopy remaining near the top of the Impact Factor ratings for the field of microscopy and he oversaw a period of great activity and development including: confocal microscopy, scanning probe microscopy and design-based stereology. The latter topic was his own speciality to which he contributed many original papers.
      As Honorary Treasurer, he saw the Society through a difficult period, with a stock market crash occurring shortly after the RMS’ 150th anniversary celebrations in 1989. Through Professor Howard's shrewd handling of the Society's financial affairs he pulled the Society through and by the time he left the Honorary Treasurer's post after 4 years the assets of the Society were far healthier! In addition to this, he introduced the Staff Pension Scheme, an important philanthropic policy which was well ahead of its time, and which still benefits the Society's staff to this day.
      During his Presidency of the RMS, Professor Howard organised a meeting at MICRO96 which turned out to be the first to address the health effects of nanoparticles. This has turned out to become a major area of research, leading to multimillion pound/euro funding from research organisations.
      Professor Howard has shown throughout his career not only that he has contributed a huge amount of time an effort to the RMS, helping to shape it into the successful Charity it is today, but has also made major contributions to the science of microscopy.
      Professor Howard was awarded his Medal at the RMS Microscopy: Advances, Innovation, Impact meeting in London on 30 September 2016.

  • 2017 Winner
    • Mr Leslie Stump, Microm

      Les has been a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society since the 1970s when he was a Technician at the University of Oxford.  Les Joined Reichert-Jung in the mid 70's as an area representative. His success at this gave him the opportunity to become responsible for the Kontron IBAS Image Analysis System when Reichert-Jung acquired the agency in the late 70's. He eventually left the area rep's job and worked full time with the Kontron image analysis system nationwide within R-J UK. Once Reichert-Jung was taken over by Cambridge Instruments in 1986, Les became linked with Kontron, and then set up his own company, Imaging Associates, which was very successful.  While at both Kontron and Imaging Associates, Les was a strong supporter of the RMS and exhibited at the MICRO exhibitions, and from 2002, the Microscience Exhibitions.
      In 2002, Les was nominated as the Chair of the Trade Advisory Committee, which was renamed the Corporate Advisory Board during his chairmanship.  Les successfully supported the RMS in the move to running the Microscience Exhibition at the ExCeL Centre, which was a major step for the Society.  Les galvanised support from the companies, and led the presentations to other potential exhibitors at a meeting which was held at ExCeL in 2001 to promote the event.
      Les was nominated as Honorary Treasurer in 2005, and served in this role for 9 years.  He oversaw a number of changes during this time, helping to move the RMS office into the 21st century, advising on health and safety, CRM and overhauling the IT infrastructure.  He was a key advisor for EMC2012 in Manchester, particularly the budgetary aspects. 
      Since coming to the end of his term as Treasurer in 2014 he has continued his involvement by providing IT advice, and introducing the ISO 27001 standard, as well as providing a smooth transition to Lynne Joyce, the incoming Treasurer.  He has also overseen the organisation of the RMS Learning Zone at mmc since 2012, an area within the Microscience Exhibition which has grown and flourished over the years, under Les’s guidance and keen eye for detail.

Vice-Presidents Medal for Microscopy Research and Laboratory Support
  • The Vice-Presidents' Medal recognises the 'unsung heroes' of microscopy by making an award to an engineer, technician or laboratory research support scientist
  • 2015 Winner
    • Kim Findlay, John Innes Norwich

      Kim manages the BioImaging Facility at the John Innes Centre and is recognised for her outstanding contributions to electron microscopy, particularly in plant and microbial imaging. She is often at the forefront of proposals for new equipment at the Centre and will train new users on these advanced and complex instruments. When the John Innes Centre relocated in 2007, Kim designed the new Bioimaging Facility and supervised the successful move, retaining the world-class standard she has helped the facility achieve. She has an active input in numerous scientific projects and has made important and long-standing contributions to Streptomyces research. Her images have been shortlisted a number of times in Scientific Imaging Competitions and she recently organised a brand new RMS Course, a Basic Introduction on how to colour EM Images using Photoshop which was incredibly well received by all the delegates. She is equally active in Outreach activities, and runs school tours, demonstrations and the ‘Inside Science’ annual workshops for gifted science students. She has also previously appeared on a special episode of Gardener’s World and wrote a popular article ‘The Science of Attraction’ for the Financial Times magazine. 
      Kim is recognised by her colleagues and supervisors as going above and beyond her role at the John Innes Centre and is always willing to help, advise and enthuse not only colleagues and those she trains but also the general public and young students, inspiring the next generation of microscopists.

  • 2017 Winner
    • Dr Sam McFadzean, University of Glasgow

      Dr McFadzean moved to the University of Glasgow School of Physics and Astronomy in 1998 and since then has been indispensable to all those working in the department. After juggling his role with studying part time for his PhD, Dr McFadzean’s role has grown significantly down to the trust and reliability he demonstrates in all of his work.
      As well as being responsible for the installation and upkeep of five major systems in the department, undertaking substantial managerial duties and the majority of the industrial contract work he is also advising and managing the IT infrastructure.
      Dr McFadzean co-ordinated the technical aspects of the installation of the KNC’s most recent electron microscope and has been at the forefront of the customisation of the KNC’s instruments. Most notably, he was integral to the development of a fast electrostatic shutter that has subsequently been incorporated into every high-performance Electron Energy Loss Spectrometer sold by Gatan worldwide, and he has customised the hardware used for differential phase contrast electron microscopy leading to work was recently published with Dr McFadzean as a co-author.

Alan Agar Medal for Electron Microscopy
  • For outstanding scientific achievements applying electron microscopy in the field of physical or life sciences
  • 2015 Winner
    • Matthieu Kociak, Universite Paris-Sud

      Dr Kociak has developed a new variety of Electron Microscopy (EM), capable of performing cathodoluminescence (CL) experiments simultaneously with the electron microscopy. This has been dubbed as ‘the beginning of a unification of optical and electron microscopy.’

      Dr Kociak and the team he has built over the past 10 years has played a leading role in the emergence of electrons in a STEM technique for nanooptics. This has involved both theoretical and experimental developments, important technical developments designing and producing innovative CL-compatible sample holders and stages. The unification of two core fields of microscopy – optical and electronic – are currently underway, largely driven by the developments pioneered and pursued by Dr Kociak.

  • 2017 Winner
    • Professor Angus Kirkland, University of Oxford

      Dr Kirkland is known for being an electron microscopist with an incredibly wide-ranging understanding and knowledge of the field. Some of his most high-profile research has been in exit-wave reconstruction. His arguably most notable work is the development of super-resolved exit-wave reconstruction methods through which, using an aberration-corrected instrument, he demonstrated a remarkable improvement in resolution to 78 picometres at 200 kV, more than 40% better than the axial limit. As published in Science, Dr Kirkland characterised of individual 2 x 2 and 3 x 3 atom nanocrystals encapsulated in a single walled carbon nanotube solved using exit-wave reconstruction to locate single I and K atoms.
      Dr Kirkland was the first to clearly develop a comprehensive understanding of signal and noise transfer and the effects of this on the performance of electron image detectors.
      His innovative work on detector characterisation showed that the power spectrum of an evenly illuminated white-noise image is in general not equal to the modulation transfer function (MTF) and that the conventional techniques to measure the MTF give over-optimistic estimations of the MTF.
      Dr Kirkland has shown that he is able to fully appreciate, identify, contribute and disseminate entirely new developments across the broad field of electron microscopy to both the European and international community.

Medal for Light Microscopy
  • For outstanding scientific achievements applying or developing new forms of light microscopy
  • 2015 Winner
    • Dr Susan Cox, Kings College London

      During her career, Dr Cox has developed a new form of super resolution light microscopy called 3B – Bayesian analysis of Bleaching & Blinking, a method which analyses data in which many overlapping fluorophores undergo bleaching and blinking events, giving the structure at enhanced resolution, 3B significantly improves resolution of live specimens. Her contribution to localisation microscopy, using blinking and other probes, is outstanding.  Her software is now used world-wide to handle data from localisation methods of microscopy and she is becoming the clear voice of rational planning in this field, defining its limits and possibilities for the large number of people who are now entering it. Dr. Cox has used 3B and other superresolution imaging approaches to explore a variety of biological questions, including several related to podosome and RhoA signaling along the leading edge of crawling cells. Dr Cox now runs her own group at King’s College London and has continued to provide new directions for improving superresolution imaging techniques. Dr Cox is widely recognized for her contributions in this area by the broader scientific community and is very generous in providing her tools and knowledge-3B can now be readily downloaded, with Image J plugins and source codes for its performance and it has been noted by many how clear, concise and engaging Dr Cox’s lectures are.

  • 2017 Winner
    • Dr Jan Huisken, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

      Dr Huisken is an accomplished biophysical scientist who has contributed novel imaging tools that have enabled new and powerful observations of developmental and physiological processes.
      Along with his co-workers, Dr Huisken introduced light sheet microscopy (or selective plane illumination microscopy) to the field of biological imaging in 2004. Since then, SPIM has replaced confocal and two-photon microscopy in many applications, and revolutionized in vivo whole embryo imaging.
      Dr Huisken has pioneered sample preparation for long time lapse experiments and has expanded SPIM in a number of directions for a number of different applications, including a high-speed instrument for cardiac imaging. He has also exploited the bright-field contrast of unstained specimens to obtain in vivo tomographic reconstructions of the 3D anatomy of zebrafish.
      Unlike most microscopy laboratories, each microscope that Dr Huisken builds is specifically designed to address a particular biological question that requires cutting-edge observations not possible on a commercial microscope.

Medal for Innovation in Applied Microscopy for Materials Science
  • For outstanding scientific achievements in applying microscopy in the fields of engineering and physical sciences
  • 2015 Winner
    • Angus Wilkinson, University of Oxford

      Professor Wilkinson has been pivotal in the development and application of High Resolution Electron Backscatter Diffraction (HR-EBSD) This technique extracts residual elastic strains and lattice rotation with very high precision from real materials. This work has been highly innovative and has extended the capabilities of the laboratory tool, increasing its competitiveness with more expensive synchrotron techniques and providing information that correlates with other microscopy techniques. Professor Wilkinson continues to innovate the technique and apply it to new and interesting materials science problems and solving real challenges such as the physical understanding of failure of components.
      HR-EBSD is now applied to solve real issues in a wide range of industrial fields, such as aerospace engineering, nuclear power, and semiconductor manufacturing producing reliable results, allowing the industry to experience real benefits from this innovative technique developed by Professor Wilkinson.

  • 2017 Winner
    • Dr Sarah Haigh, University of Manchester

      Dr Haigh has made ground-breaking contributions to the development of techniques for the study of two-dimensional materials and nanomaterials by scanning transmission electron microscopy.
      Dr Haigh performed the first atomic-scale cross-sectional imaging of 2D heterostructures, demonstrating that interfaces could be made atomically sharp. This insight helped improve the electronic mobility in graphene sheets and provided motivation for producing more complex stacks, establishing the rapidly growing field of van der Waals heterostructure devices. More recently, this approach has been applied to the imaging of microfluidic channels.
      She was also able to grant a deeper understanding of the irradiation damage threshold in nuclear reactor components using in-situ observations of ion-induced defect formation in nuclear graphite and graphene.
      Dr Haigh is also passionate about the development of fundamental microscopy techniques, being a pioneer of energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) STEM tomography. Among other key progressions, she has developed a new technique for accurately analysing the composition of gamma prime precipitates in a nickel superalloy, enabling a deeper understanding of precipitate coarsening effects.

Medal for Scanning Probe Microscopy
  • For outstanding progress made in the field of scanning probe microscopy (SPM)
  • 2015 Winner
    • Dr Sergei Kalinin, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

      Dr Kalinin has made transformational contributions to the field of scanning probe microscopy that have established the electromechanics of nanoscale systems as a new and exciting field of research.
      Dr Kalinin and his colleagues have laid the foundations for this new field through the development of revolutionary SPM techniques that have led in turn to some crucial discoveries in physics, chemistry and materials science. Dr Kalinin’s work provides the basis for entirely new approaches to the study of energy transformation, phase transitions and electrochemical reactivity on the level of single defects and atoms in solids. His techniques have been widely adopted across the SPM community, demonstrating Dr Kalinin’s work as original, innovative and transformational.

  • 2017 Winner
    • Dr Bart Hoogenboom, University College London

      Since being a PhD student, Dr Hoogenboom has made important contributions to the development and application of scanning probe microscopy to a wide range of scientific areas.
      Since establishing his research group in 2007, Dr Hoogenboom has made a number of achievements in the life sciences including visualisation of the DNA double helix which can help make important breakthroughs in gene expression and regulation. His group developed new AFM methodology and data analysis to probe inside the channel of nuclear pore complexes, offering great nanaotechnological, physical and biological relevance. His group have also started a programme on real-time imaging of membrane degradation by antimicrobial peptides, resulting in, amongst other discoveries, the most complete view to date of membrane pore formation by a family of bacterial toxins that play a role in diseases such as bacterial pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.
      As well as his scientific accomplishments, Dr Hoogenboom played a pivotal role in setting up the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) atomic force microscopy facilities, enabling the LCN to boast world leading AFM capabilities, benefiting a wide community at both UCL and Imperial College. Dr Hoogenboom has transformed the training and use of these facilities, which has been key in promoting the use of scanning probe microscopy to a huge number of people, not just microscopists but the general public as well.

Medal for Life Sciences
  • For outstanding scientific achievements applying microscopy in the field of cell biology
  • 2015 Winner
    • Dr John Briggs, European Molecular Biology Laboratory

      Dr Briggs is an excellent ambassador for the power of microscopy in modern life sciences research, with his work spanning both fields of virus particle structure and vesicle trafficking. He has made significant technical developments which have facilitated techniques such as time resolved electron tomography of clathrin coated vesicle formation, this along with other work of Dr Briggs have led to significant changes in the understanding of these pathways. 
      Dr Briggs has capitalized on his position as a group leader at the EMBL in Heidelberg to produce work of the highest quality. His contributions have been highly significant in both virology and membrane trafficking, giving new insight through quite exceptional high resolution imaging.
      Dr Briggs continues to work at the forefront of his field and is held in high regard by many of his peers and international leaders in these fields.

The Pearse Prize does not accept nominations, as the winner is nominated and chosen by the Life Sciences committee. To find out more visit here. 



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