Supernumerary Fellow Professor Frances Platt has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Professor Platt is Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology and Head of the Department of Pharmacology, part of the University of Oxford's Medical Sciences Division. She is a biochemist and pharmacologist, and her work centres on the study of a group of rare genetic disorders called lysosomal storage diseases with a view to developing new drug therapies.
Commenting on her election, Professor Platt said:
"It’s a great honour to have been elected and I hope this will help raise awareness about the devastating diseases we work on. I am truly indebted to past and present members of my lab and our collaborators for their outstanding work over the years"
Professor Platt took a BSc in Zoology at Imperial College London and a PhD in animal physiology from the University of Bath. Following her doctorate she took up a fellowship at Washington University Medical School in St Louis, USA, before returning to the UK in 1989, joining the University of Oxford's Biochemistry Department. She held a Lister Institute Senior Research Fellowship from 1996 to 2002, moved to the Department of Pharmacology in April 2006, and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2011.
A major focus of her work has been on the development of substrate reduction therapy (SRT) to treat lysosomal storage diseases. Proof of principle of SRT was demonstrated in mouse models of these primarily neurodegenerative diseases, and Professor Platt’s research has led to the development of the approved drug miglustat/Zavesca for glycosphingolipid storage disease therapy. Her current interests focus on the cell biology and pathobiology of glycosphingolipids and on the development of novel therapies for treating diseases resulting from defects in gycolipid metabolism and lysosomal dysfunction.
Professor Platt is one of more than 60 exceptional scientists from around the world elected as Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society this year. Announcing their election, Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said:
"The global pandemic has demonstrated the continuing importance of scientific thinking and collaboration across borders. Each Fellow and Foreign Member bring their area of scientific expertise to the Royal Society and when combined, this expertise supports the use of science for the benefit of humanity.
"Our new Fellows and Foreign Members are all at the forefronts of their fields from molecular genetics and cancer research to tropical open ecosystems and radar technology. It is an absolute pleasure and honour to have them join us."