Skip to content

Schmidt Science Fellows appoints new member to Academic Council

Renowned scientist and teacher will bring extensive expertise to role in mentoring future interdisciplinary science leaders

Prof John Boothroyd

The Schmidt Science Fellows program has appointed Professor John Boothroyd to its Academic Council, strengthening the program’s capacity to provide the highest quality mentoring to its cohorts of emerging science leaders.

Prof Boothroyd is currently Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs and the Burt and Marion Avery Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. He is a recipient of multiple awards for mentoring graduate students and postdocs. As a member of the Academic Council, Prof Boothroyd will be responsible for the scientific and career mentoring for a group of Schmidt Science Fellows, as well as making his expertise available to all current Fellows and Senior Fellows.

Prof Boothroyd will take up the part-time role immediately, alongside his existing commitments at Stanford University. He will also work with the Schmidt Science Fellows to deliver bespoke training for the fellows on areas of expertise including grant writing and managing interdisciplinary teams.

Prof Sir Keith Burnett, Chair of the Schmidt Science Fellows Academic Council, said: “Mentoring makes an enormous difference to the success of an early career researcher. I am thrilled that John Boothroyd is joining our Academic Council and that our Fellows can draw on his expertise and insights. He is bringing an outstanding combination of experience in academia and industry, research, and teaching that I know the Fellows will find invaluable.”

Prof Boothroyd said: “I am extremely excited to be part of this amazing venture in postdoctoral training. Postdocs are such an important part of the world’s research engine, and yet they traditionally have received the least attention. Having met the first cohort of Schmidt Science Fellows earlier this year when they visited Stanford, I have seen first-hand what an extraordinarily talented and motivated group they are. I’m looking forward to working with them, and future cohorts of Fellows, to help them to make an impact on the world.”

Commenting on the appointment, Schmidt Science Fellows Executive Director, Dr Megan Wheeler, said: “While working with John on the delivery of the Stanford portion of our Northern California Global Meeting earlier this year, I learned first-hand just how deeply committed he is to the professional development of scientists at this early stage of their career and how he shares our vision for identifying, training, and supporting scientists to reach across disciplinary boundaries and advance discovery. I am thrilled to welcome him to our team and look forward to working with him in the coming months and years to help realize this vision.”

Prof John Boothroyd completed his first degree at McGill University, before moving to the University of Edinburgh to undertake his PhD. He then embarked on a career in the pharmaceutical sector at the Wellcome Laboratories near London, UK, where he worked on Foot and Mouth Disease Virus and the fundamental science of antigenic variation in African trypanosomes. Prof Boothroyd returned to academia with a faculty position at Stanford University where he continued to work on trypanosomes. In addition to unraveling much about the molecular basis of antigenic variation, his group discovered mRNA trans-splicing. He also embarked on work on the cell biology and pathogenesis of Toxoplasma. His group made unprecedented findings on how this intracellular parasite invades and then co-opts human cells and this remains the focus of his research group today.

First as Senior Associate Dean for Research and Training in the School of Medicine and then as Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs at Stanford University, Prof Boothroyd has helped transform the postdoctoral experience at the university, co-creating the School of Medicine Career Center, the Postdoc Scientific Management Series, and “Management Matters,” a program that trains postdocs as managers and facilitators. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and has served on their Committee on “The Next Generation of Researchers” that advised the US Congress and the US National Institutes of Health on changes necessary to improve the academic experience and prospects for postdocs and young faculty, and currently serves on their Committee on ‘Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in STEMM’.


Matt Goode
Director of External Affairs and Fellowship Engagement
Schmidt Science Fellows, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust
Tel: +44 7766 423 372

About Schmidt Science Fellows

Schmidt Science Fellows, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, aims to develop the next generation of science leaders to transcend disciplines, advance discovery, and solve the world’s most pressing problems.

We provide our Fellows with the skills and perspectives to harness and accelerate their exceptional scientific talents. Schmidt Science Fellows engage and coproduce with diverse thinkers in science, politics, society, and business to catalyze new ideas and connections.

Our Fellows are part of a community of lifelong fellowship and collaboration, between each other and with the cross-disciplinary networks they develop during the Fellowship year.

Working with partners in science, policy, and society Schmidt Science Fellows are helping to shape the future of scientific culture, training, and discovery.