5 Feb 2024

Professor David Stephens receives RMS Scientific Achievement Award

Outstanding cell biologist whose work spans over 30 years of excellence in research

The RMS is delighted to announce Professor David Stephens as the latest recipient of the RMS Scientific Achievement Award.

David has been a group leader in the School of Biochemistry at University of Bristol since 2001. He is an outstanding cell biologist who uses advanced light microscopy and electron microscopy to study the secretory pathway. His work spans over 30 years of excellence in research with over 100 publications.

In 2005 he made the key finding that membranes of the early secretory pathway can be linked to microtubules and motor proteins for subsequent organisation and movement to the Golgi apparatus. He has also made many contributions to the understanding of cilia biology, including work identifying the subunit composition and role of the dynein-2 motor protein complex in the formation and maintenance of primary cilia.

In 2018 his work, David provided an important insight into the process of procollagen trafficking, revealing a short-loop pathway from the ER to the Golgi, without the use of large carriers. Further work has defined roles for early secretory pathway proteins, including giantin and TANGO1, in the processing and secretion of procollagen. David continues to publish in these areas with some exciting new publications coming up in 2024. 

As well as driving his own successful research group, David has been a collaborator on many research projects, generously giving of his time and mentorship to support the cell biology community.

During his research career he has held funding from UKRI and The Wellcome Trust, with a significant amount dedicated to the provision of advanced microscopy platforms. Microscopy has always underpinned David’s research and he was an enthusiastic member of the Royal Microscopical Society Life Sciences Section for several years, supporting meetings including the Microscience Microscopy Congress (mmc).

David has been an active member of the British Society for Cell Biology and the British Society for Matrix Biology and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. He has also served as a highly regarded editor with the Journal of Cell Science since 2015. David has also invested considerable time as a grant panel member in the UK and internationally, as well as serving on the Council of UKRI-BBSRC.