Former Lister Fellow Andrew King is Elected to the Royal Society

We are delighted to announce that Professor Andrew King, University of Oxford and one of our former Fellows, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society 2018.

Professor King is a Professor of Neurophysiology and a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow. At the University of Oxford Professor King directs the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and is also head of the Oxford Auditory Neuroscience Group.

Professor King has held a number of prestigious awards and positions. In 2006 he was appointed to a Wellcome Principal Research Fellowship, the most senior of the Wellcome Trust’s personal awards. He is also a recipient of the Wellcome Prize Medal in Physiology and is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Physiological Society and Merton College.

His primary research interest is the neuroscience of mammalian hearing; particularly how sound is processed by the brain and the ways in which this information is integrated with input from our other senses. His discoveries include evidence that mammalian brains develop spatial ‘maps’ of the surrounding auditory world, using sensory data to calibrate them as the body grows.

In addition, Professor King has also shown that adult brains in humans and other species are highly flexible when it comes to the representation of sound features. He has made a number of contributions to existing knowledge demonstrating that the brain is able to adjust on a continual basis to variations in the statistical distribution of sound signals. This remarkable adaptability enables it to cope with both immediate changes in acoustic environments – for example, as we enter a noisy pub from a quiet street – and longer-term changes occurring gradually due to hearing loss.

This work is ultimately informing improved treatments and therapies, and it is this high quality body of research, and commitment to advancing scientific knowledge, that saw Professor King elected to the Royal Society earlier this year.

The Royal Society is a very well-known and highly selective independent scientific academy with a long heritage. It can trace its origin back to 1660 when members of the so-called ‘invisible college’ (an eclectic group of physicians, scientists and natural philosophers) held a meeting widely considered to be the beginning of the Royal Society in November of that year.

The meeting was preceded by a lecture at Gresham College held by Christopher Wren (the well-known architect, astronomer and polymath) and featured other academics who would go on to make significant contributions to scientific knowledge such as Robert Boyle and John Wilkins. Royal charters were signed in 1662 and 1663 to more firmly establish the organisation, and every British monarch has served as patron of the Society since that time.

Today the Royal Society is thought of as one of the foremost professional research bodies in the world. Its organisational aims are to promote excellence in science, support international collaboration and demonstrate the importance of science to all of society.

The Lister Institute has a long-running relationship with the Royal Society and many of our fellows and members are associated with the organisation. We are very honoured to have played a role in supporting the work of one of the Society’s most recent elected Fellows in Professor King and are looking forward to hearing more about the impact he will have as part of the prestigious organisation.