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Rothamsted researcher honoured

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16 June 2010

This week Professor John Pickett CBE, became the first recipient of the "Michael Elliott Distinguished Research Fellowship" at Rothamsted Research, an institute of the BBSRC. Professor Pickett was awarded this new fellowship in recognition of his distinguished career in Chemical Ecology.

This new fellowship is named after Michael Elliott, the scientist behind the discovery and development of pyrethroid insecticides, still the most important for controlling the majority of pests of public health and agricultural importance. The Fellowship will be awarded periodically to a Rothamsted scientist who has distinguished themselves in their research over an extended period and who has brought substantial recognition to Rothamsted Research, just as Professor Elliott did throughout his illustrious career. The first Michael Elliott Fellowship was awarded to Professor John Pickett in a ceremony at Rothamsted on Tuesday, 15 June, where invited guests and colleagues gathered to congratulate Professor Pickett. Professor Elliott's family were also in attendance.

Professor Wittko Francke, Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Hamburg presented the opening seminar entitled: "Some bizarre ideas on the evolution of semiochemicals - in honour of John Pickett, Michael Elliott Research Fellow". This was followed by the presentation of the Fellowship to Professor John A. Pickett, who is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and a Fellow the Royal Society. He is the recipient of the International Society of Chemical Ecology Medal and received a CBE in 2004, in recognition of his services to Biological Chemistry.

Professor Pickett presented the Michael Elliott lecture celebrating his 35 years of chemical ecology at Rothamsted entitled: "From the love-life of insects to frightening plants", which covered his eminent career at Rothamsted and described future challenges and opportunities in the field of Chemical Ecology.

New Director and CEO of Rothamsted Research, Professor Maurice Moloney said, "We are proud that Professor John Pickett is the first recipient of the Michael Elliott Research Fellowship. John's scientific impact in the area of chemical ecology is unrivalled. His work also epitomises the values that we hold at Rothamsted for internationally acclaimed science and its translation into agricultural practice. His recent work on push-pull agriculture illustrates this point well. It is founded on major scientific discoveries and yet it has already been applied beneficially to agricultural systems in Africa."

Upon receipt of the award Professor Pickett said, "What a wonderful development for me both to honour my predecessor Michael Elliott and his invention of the synthetic pyrethroids, still the major intervention against malaria, and to enable me to continue making important contributions to the Rothamsted and BBSRC move towards increasing sustainable intensification of agricultural production."

Professor Moloney also announced a new John Pickett Travel Fellowship, which will be available to post-graduate students and recent post-doctoral fellows at Rothamsted for project travel to a collaborating laboratory outside of the UK.


Notes to editors

Photographs available upon request.

About Rothamsted Research

Rothamsted Research is based in Hertfordshire and is one of the largest agricultural research institutes in the country. The mission of Rothamsted Research is to be recognised internationally as a primary source of first-class scientific research and new knowledge that addresses stakeholder requirements for innovative policies, products and practices to enhance the economic, environmental and societal value of agricultural land. The Applied Crop Science department is based at Broom's Barn, Higham, Bury St. Edmunds. North Wyke Research is located near Okehampton in Devon. Rothamsted Research is an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
For further information, please contact the Rothamsted Research Press Office. Dr Sharon Hall (Tel: 01582 763 133 ext 2757 or email or Dr Adélia de Paula (Tel: 01582 763 133 ext 2260 or email


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Studies (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.