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Professor Irene Roberts, an Emeritus Professor of Paediatric Haematology at the University of Oxford, has this month been awarded the Jean Bernard Lifetime Achievement Award by the European Haematology Association.

Established in 2008, the award honours outstanding physicians and scientists for their lifetime contribution to the advancement of haematology. Professor Roberts has a particular interest in developmental haematology and haematological problems of the newborn and early childhood. She has also made major contributions to the pathogenesis of a range of haematological disorders in early life, including the mechanisms by which trisomy 21 perturbs blood stem and progenitor cell function and how this confers susceptibility to leukaemia in children with Down Syndrome.

The announcement was made at the European Haematology Association’s 2023 Congress which was held virtually.

Professor Roberts said: “Jean Bernard was a pioneering haematologist in Europe who made contributions in a wide range of fields, including childhood leukaemia and bleeding disorders; he was also a hero of the French Resistance and an acclaimed poet, a truly remarkable man. So, it is a huge honour to have been given this award which I feel belongs equally to the many hundreds of people who have inspired and supported our research and clinical work over the years.” 

Professor Roberts is also one of eight Oxford researchers elected to join the Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship in May this year. The new Fellows, were elected in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the advancement of biomedical and health science, cutting edge research discoveries, and translating developments into benefits for patients and wider society.