We would like to congratulate Professor Simon Phillips on being elected the new President of the British Crystallographic Association (BCA).

“I am deeply honoured to have been elected President of the BCA, a society that encompasses a subject so dear to my heart. It is also very satisfying that this is the second time in less than a decade that a member of Linacre has held this post”

Simon Phillips has been a crystallographer for 47 years, ever since an experiment using the method in an undergraduate chemistry practical at UCL in 1971.  He has mainly studied the structure of proteins, how they function in living organism and how that information can be utilised. These areas include:

  • how oxygen is carried in the blood and stored in the muscles
  • how our immune system recognizes foreign invaders
  • how proteins process and protect our DNA and keep it safe
  • how enzymes use cheap metals, such as copper, iron, zinc and nickel, to speed up chemical reactions, e.g. hydrogen splitting, that could be valuable
  • design of drugs

The British Crystallographic Association (BCA) is a scientific society dedicated to the advancement and promotion of crystallography in the UK and beyond. Crystallography is a technique that allows to determine the three-dimensional structure of matter at the atomic level, in that it allows us to see the arrangement of atoms in any material.  This arrangement is what underlies the fundamental properties of the material, such as hardness for diamond or, for large and complex biological molecules such as proteins, the ability to perform remarkable feats (think of muscle contraction for example).