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Trinity Fellows Rebecca Fitzgerald and Eric Lauga elected to the Royal Society

Trinity Fellows Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, Director of Cambridge’s Early Cancer Centre, and Professor of Applied Mathematics Eric Lauga have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society in the latest intake to the prestigious institution, which counts many of the world’s most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists among its members.

Rebecca Fitzgerald is Professor of Cancer Prevention at Cambridge and Honorary Consultant in Gastroenterology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. In 2022 she became Director of the new Early Cancer Institute at Cambridge, a multidisciplinary initiative focused on understanding the earliest steps of cancer formation in order to pave the way for new detection and prevention measures.

Professor Fitzgerald’s Cytosponge. Photo: University of Cambridge.

Professor Fitzgerald’s research into the earlier detection of oesophageal cancer led to the development of the Cytosponge, the ‘pill on a thread’, which can diagnose the condition Barrett’s Oesophagus that is sometimes a precursor to cancer. She won the Westminster Medal for her research into the condition and development of the Cytosponge and in 2021 received the Don Listwin Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Early Detection.

Professor Fitzgerald said:

I am honoured to be elected a member of the Royal Society alongside so many illustrious figures. My scientific interests were sparked by treating patients with advanced cancer who could have had a different outcome if their pre-cancer had been diagnosed.

With colleagues at Cambridge’s recently established Early Cancer Institute we will continue our work to understand who is at risk of cancer and the mechanisms through which it develops so that we can stop cancer in its tracks before it is a problem.’

Eric Lauga (above), Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMPT), is recognised for his work in the field of biological physics and fluid mechanics.

Through mathematical analysis, Professor Lauga studies the role played by viscous flows in living systems, revealing instances where fluid dynamics underlies fundamental physical processes and discovering new roles of flows. His interdisciplinary work is often in collaboration with experimentalists from the world of biology, engineering and soft matter physics, allowing novel studies at the intersection between active matter and fluid dynamics.

Professor Lauga said:

I feel very grateful have been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and delighted at this recognition of my work in the fluid dynamics of living systems. The research community in DAMTP has been very supportive of my work and, together with the world-class students I have the privilege to work with at Trinity College, they make my daily life a very stimulating scientific environment. I am proud to be a member of one of the world’s leading research institutions.

The two Trinity Fellows join 90 researchers from across the world elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in recognition of their invaluable contributions to science, who include the Nobel laureate, Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier and the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the US President, Professor Anthony Fauci.

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said it was an honour to welcome such ‘an outstanding group into the Fellowship.’

This new cohort have already made significant contributions to our understanding of the world around us and continue to push the boundaries of possibility in academic research and industry.

From visualising the sharp rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution to leading the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, their diverse range of expertise is furthering human understanding and helping to address some of our greatest challenges.

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