John Skehel

Emeritus Scientist

Sir John James Skehel, FRS FMedSci, is an English virologist, born 27 February 1941 in Blackburn, England. He was Director of the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) at Mill Hill from 1987 to 2006.

John Skehel is a graduate of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (1962) and gained his PhD from the University of Manchester (1966). He did research at the University of Aberdeen (1965-1968) and was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation fellow at Duke University and at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) Mill Hill (1968-1971). He was an MRC staff scientist at NIMR from 1971 to 2006, Director of the WHO World Influenza Centre from 1975 to 1993, Head of Infections and Immunity from 1985 to 2006 and Director of the NIMR from 1987 to 2006.

His studies and discoveries in the mechanisms by which influenza virus binds to the host cell, and in virus-cell membrane fusion have had a fundamental impact on the field.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1984, became a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998 and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA in 2014. He was awarded the Wilhelm Feldberg Prize in 1986, the Robert Koch Prize in 1987, the Louis Jeantet Prix de Medecin in 1988, the ICN International Prize in Virology in 1992 and knighted in 1996. He was awarded the Royal Medal in 2003 for "his pioneering research into virology" and in 2007 he received the Grand Prix de Louis D Foundation of the Institute de France.