Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize 2011 – Ben Longdon

It was a complete surprise to win the Sir Kenneth Mather Prize, in fact I also dismissed the letter telling me I had been awarded the prize as junk mail!  My PhD work was forwarded for consideration by my PhD supervisors, Dr Frank Jiggins and Dr Darren Obbard. My PhD was titled “The evolution and ecology of Drosophila sigma viruses”.  I found that sigma viruses are common viruses of insects, and used techniques from population and quantitative genetics to study their spread through host populations and their ability to switch between different host species (details here  After post-doc at the University of Cambridge, continuing my research into these fascinating viruses, I am now a Wellcome Trust and Royal Society funded Sir Henry Dale research fellow at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus.  It was a great honour to win such a prestigious prize, and for all the hard work that went into generating the data to be recognised by the Genetics Society.  I have continued my association with the Genetics Society by being a local representative and helping organise the 2018 annual meeting.