Acclaimed University of Sydney biologist elected Royal Society Fellow

24 May 2011

This fellowship places Professor Patrick Tam among the world's leading scientists, engineers and technologists.
This fellowship places Professor Patrick Tam among the world's leading scientists, engineers and technologists.

Professor Patrick Tam has been honoured for his lifelong work in embryology research.

He holds a conjoint appointment as Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney's Sydney Medical School and an Honorary Professorship at the University of Hong Kong. Professor Tam is the Deputy Director of the Children's Medical Research Institute where he also leads the Embryology Research Unit.

A world authority in early mouse development, Professor Patrick Tam was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) - the world's oldest scientific academy in continuous existence - for his outstanding scientific achievement and career-long contribution to science. The election places Professor Tam in a group of about 30 leading scientists in developmental biology who are contemporary Royal Society Fellows.

Professor Tam joins 43 other newly elected Fellows, who are the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and Commonwealth.

Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society are elected for life through a peer review process on the basis of excellence in science. These honourees form a select group which has included Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin. Current Fellows include James Watson, Sydney Brenner, John Sulston, Lewis Wolpert, Richard Gardner, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking.

Professor Tam is internationally recognised for his pioneering work of 28 years in investigating how the basic body plan of the early mouse embryo takes shape by performing meticulous mapping of the ways cells differentiate and move in concert. His 'fate maps' reveal how cells are being put together to form the essential building blocks for different parts of the body and how that development is controlled by signals and genetic switches. This work has laid the foundation for his ongoing research into the developmental causes of birth defects and cell-based therapy.

"I'm humbled and honoured by my election to this highly prestigious Fellowship, especially in being recognised by my peers, both in and outside my research discipline," said Professor Tam who joined CMRI in 1991.

"I share this accolade with present and past members of my research team and acknowledge CMRI's tremendous support of my research endeavours. It's very rewarding that our efforts to contribute to knowledge of developmental biology and the growth of this discipline in Australia have been recognised so prominently," he said.

CMRI Director and Lorimer Dods Professor, Roger Reddel said, "Children's Medical Research Institute is delighted that Professor Patrick Tam has been honoured in this way. Patrick is a trail-blazing research scientist, and he is also extraordinarily generous with his time and efforts in advising other scientists in his field within Australia and around the world."

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