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Johnian magazine issue 47, spring 2021

Top College stories

2 min read

New Foundation Year

In January 2021 the University of Cambridge launched their Foundation Year for disadvantaged students. St John’s is taking part in the pioneering scheme, which offers a free foundational year of study at Cambridge for students who have performed well at school but have been unable to meet their full potential due to unfortunate extenuating circumstances such as bereavement, being in care or experiencing socio-economic deprivation.

Emma Corrin
Emma Corrin (2015). Photography: Faye Thomas

Golden Globe

In February 2021 Emma Corrin (2015), who was involved in many student theatrical productions in Cambridge as a student, won the Golden Globe for Best Television Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Princess Diana in season four of The Crown. We look forward to seeing her on our screens again soon.

From pulp to fictions

Dr Orietta Da Rold, St John’s Fellow and University Lecturer in Medieval Literature and the Material Text 1100–1500, examines the coming of paper to England during the Middle Ages in her new book, Paper in Medieval England: From Pulp to Fictions. Her research explores the early uses of paper, its influence on the culture and society of the period, and its success as a technology.

Orietta gave a talk to alumni on 3 February 2021 as part of our Let’s Talk Academia event series.

Maternal and infant health

Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, St John’s Fellow and University Lecturer in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, won the Hans Sigrist Prize for her ground-breaking research into the causes of complications in pregnancy that lead to poor health for mothers and their children.

She will receive 100,000 Swiss francs (c £82,000) to dedicate to her pioneering research in maternal-fetal communication during pregnancy. She said that the prize ‘opens lots of opportunities for me to collaborate with researchers at the University of Berne in Switzerland, who have complementary expertise and models. I’m absolutely overwhelmed with joy.’

Dies Academicus Science Award winner Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri. Photography: Chris Radburn/Fixed Point Media

The economics of biodiversity

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics and St John’s Fellow, led a report into how a better understanding of Nature can help us build resilient economies and achieve sustainable prosperity for all.

The independent, global Dasgupta review into the economics of biodiversity was commissioned by the UK Government in March 2019 and the findings were made public in February 2021.

Access the Dasgupta Review, including the full report, abridged version, headline messages and reactions.

Hear from Emily McKenzie (2002), who worked on the report.

Honoured alumni

Five Johnians were mentioned in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2021:

• Dr Paul van Heyningen (1993) is Deputy Director in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). He was awarded an OBE for services to energy policy.

• Sarah Docherty (2008) has worked for the Rt Hon. Dominic Raab and his predecessor the Rt Hon. Jeremy Hunt as Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary. She was awarded an OBE for services to British foreign policy.

• Professor Alan Maryon-Davis (1962) has chaired the Public Health Advisory Committee for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the past ten years. He was awarded an MBE for services to public health.

• Professor Usha Goswami (1990) is Director for the Centre for Neuroscience in Education and Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience. She was awarded a CBE for services to educational research.

• Dr Michael Weekes (1992) works at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and was involved in asymptomatic testing for staff at Addenbrooke’s. He was awarded a BEM for services to the NHS during COVID-19.

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