Development & Alumni Relations Office 

BARCROFT MEDAL AWARDED TO PROFESSOR WHO LED DEVELOPMENT OF OXFORD VACCINE Professor Sarah Gilbert, seated, arms folded with green shrubs and trees in background

12 March 2021

The School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's has awarded the 2021 Barcroft medal to Professor Sarah Gilbert, Saïd Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute in Oxford.

Professor Gilbert led the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 which is currently being rolled out successfully across the world. 

The Barcroft medal has been presented to Professor Gilbert in recognition of her outstanding achievements in medical research. Throughout her career, Professor Gilbert has made and tested vaccines for malaria, influenza, and emerging pathogens, such as Nipah and MERS. Several of the vaccines developed in her laboratory have progressed into clinical trials. 

Professor Gilbert presented the annual Barcroft Lecture (Wednesday 10 March) on the topic ‘Vaccine platform technology and planning for pandemics’. The Barcroft Lecture is an annual public event organised by the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences in honour of Sir Henry Barcroft, former Dunville Chair of Physiology at Queen's and a Wellcome Trustee. 

On receiving the award, Professor Gilbert, said:

“I am honoured to receive this award today, and look forward to discussions with Queen’s colleagues.” 

Commenting on Professor Gilbert’s award, Professor Pascal McKeown, Head of School and Dean of Education from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s, said:

“The School is honoured that Professor Gilbert has accepted the Barcroft medal. This award acknowledges the outstanding contribution made by scientists in medical research and it is only fitting that Professor Gilbert is this year’s recipient. 

“We recognise and celebrate her inspiring success over the last 12 months in leading the development of the life-saving Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.” 

Professor Jose Bengoechea, Director of the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine within the School, said:

“We are delighted to acknowledge Professor Gilbert’s incredible contribution to medical research with the award of the Barcroft medal.  

“Professor Gilbert is one of the key scientists at the forefront of the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and today we rightly celebrate her achievements in the field of medicine and her positive contribution to society.”

Media enquiries should be addressed to the Communications Officer at Queen’s University Belfast.

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