Professor Julian Hibberd, one of our teaching Fellows in Natural Sciences (Plant Sciences), alongside our Research Fellow Dr Pallavi Singh, and their colleagues have developed a new process of combining embryonic tissue of grass-like plants to equip various species to benefit from different characteristics, today published in the journal Nature.
Taking root & shoot tissues from seeds, the team have grafted banana, rice & wheat plants together so that they can aim to prevent disease, and increase tolerance to internal & external stress factors. There has been recent rapid acceleration of diseases & pathogens such as Panama Disease, or ‘Tropical Race 4', which has increased fears of shortage of bananas on a global scale.
Professor Hibberd said: “We’ve achieved something that everyone said was impossible. Grafting embryonic tissue holds real potential across a range of grass-like species. We found that even distantly related species, separated by deep evolutionary time, are graft compatible,”
The technique allows monocotyledons of the same species, and of two different species, to be grafted effectively. Grafting genetically different root and shoot tissues can result in a plant with new traits – ranging from dwarf shoots, to pest and disease resistance.
We're delighted that our Fellow & Director of Studies in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Dr Laura Moretti's Pleasure in Profit. Popular Prose in Seventeenth-Century Japan has been named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2021.
This prestigious list reflects the best in scholarly titles, both print and digital, reviewed by Choice during the previous year and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. The list is quite selective, containing approximately ten percent of some 5,000 works reviewed annually in Choice.
It is with great reluctance, as the College cannot safely hold the staff and pensioners Christmas lunch due to be held on Friday, that the decision has been to cancel this event.
Unfortunately this is the second year this event will not take place, but hopefully we will be able to organise this as usual next year.
On 1 October, we were delighted to welcome our new Master, Doug Chalmers! We're looking forward to his steering of Emmanuel in the next terms and years, and are so grateful for the warm outpouring of good wishes to him from our entire community.
He came to the College from Whitehall where he had been the Director of Operations for the Ministry of Defence. For operational service in the British Army, Doug was appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2003, promoted to OBE in 2008 and awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 2012. In 2021 he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for services to Defence during the COVID pandemic.
We want also to thank our incredible outgoing Master, Dame Fiona Reynolds, for her tireless service for us over the last nine years, and wish her the very best at the National Audit Office.
We are very sad that Dr Mike Sayers, one of our Life Fellows, former Director of the University Computing Service (1994 – 2004) and the long-time chair of our IS Committee, died suddenly on 4 October 2021. Our entire college community send our deepest condolences to his family.
On 28 September, we received the sad news that Dr Rick Martin, a retired Fellow, died peacefully at Addenbrooke's Hospital after a short illness. The entire College community join the Master, Dame Fiona Reynolds, in sending our deepest condolences to his family.
We are absolutely delighted that our alumna Anna Kiesenhofer (2012), who did Part III Maths with us, has won Olympic gold for Austria in the Women's Cycling Road Race. In the last few minutes, Anna broke away from the two athletes behind her, and finishing more than a minute ahead of Annemiek van Vleuten (the 2019 World Champion)
We congratulate Anna on her amazing victory, and are overjoyed that an Emma alum has done so well!!
In normal times we have a service in the Chapel for Passiontide at the end of the Lent Term. There are many different ways of approaching Jesus’ crucifixion and the events that led up to it, but often the most powerful is simply to tell the story, the story that, in Christian belief, changes our human condition forever.
The Master, Dame Fiona Reynolds, has today been announced by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy as the new Chair of its Management Board.
She has served with the Board since November 2020, and brings expertise in public policy affecting land use, planning and place-making, conservation of nature and heritage, and the environment. She succeeds Professor Anna Vignoles CBE FBA who took up the new position of Director to the Leverhulme Trust in January 2021.
Dame Fiona has been in post as Master at Emmanuel since 2012, and will complete her term in September 2021. She came to the College after a long career in the voluntary and public sectors, latterly as Director-General of the National Trust from 2001-2012. She became Chair of the National Audit Office in January 2021.
The role of Chair is to provide leadership and direction to the Management Board.
Professor Michael Kenny, Inaugural Director, the Bennett Institute for Public Policy said:
“We are delighted that Dame Fiona will be leading the Management Board as its Chair, following on from Professor Vignoles’ excellent work over the last two and a half years.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Dame Fiona in her new role to ensure that the Bennett Institute fulfils its mission to rethink public policy in an era of turbulence and growing inequality, and develop successful and sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing problems of our time.”
Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy said:
“I’m honoured to be taking the chair of the Management Board of this important Institute, which has the opportunity to play a vital role in shaping for the better the post-Brexit, post-Covid world.”
The Fellows of Emmanuel College, Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have elected Doug Chalmers, currently the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, to succeed the present Master, Fiona Reynolds. Doug will take up the appointment on 1 October 2021.
In his role as Director of Operations for the Ministry of Defence, Doug provides advice to Ministers on the range of defence operations while integrating with partners across government, along with allies, to deliver the UK’s national security objectives. Most recently this has seen Doug orchestrate the defence response to the COVID pandemic in support of the Department of Health and Social Care.
Doug says: ‘It is a privilege and honour to be elected to lead Emmanuel College. I have been struck by the College’s academic reputation coupled with your genuinely open, supportive and forward-looking approach. Helen and I are excited to be joining such a wonderful and vibrant community.
Having spent time advancing diversity, equality and inclusion in defence, I share Emmanuel’s values of tolerance, respect, sociability and inclusivity. They provide very firm foundations for the future and I am committed to doing all that I can to build on Dame Fiona’s work and advance these values collaboratively with Fellows and students.’
In January 2021 Fiona Reynolds became the Chair of the National Audit Office (NAO) and will continue in this role when she leaves the Mastership in September. She says ‘Emmanuel is a wonderful College, and I have loved my 8 years here. I’m delighted to welcome Doug to his new role.’
We live in dark and difficult times and so it is appropriate that in Candlemas, at the beginning of February, we find a Church festival that speaks to us of light in the midst of darkness.
The story of Candlemas, recounted towards the beginning of Luke’s gospel, takes place 40 days after Jesus’ birth. Following Jewish custom, Mary and Joseph take their baby to the Temple in Jerusalem, to present him to God and to make the prescribed offerings. There they are met by two old people Simeon and Anna, both of whom have been promised by God that they will see the Messiah before they die. Simeon takes the child in his arms and says:
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace
according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation;
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
words that we sing or say at each service of Evensong. The idea of Christ as ‘a light for the nations’ gives rise to the custom of having a procession with candles to mark the feast, and gives it its name.
In this representation of the scene by Rembrandt he bathes the central group of figures in light so that they stand out against the dark background of the towering building and the surrounding onlookers. The old man Simeon looks up to heaven while Mary and Joseph are taken aback by the sudden attention. Simeon and Anna have waited patiently and now they see the light of salvation in an unexpected place. So Candlemas is a feast that helps us learn to see the light, even when all seems dark.
Simeon and Anna have done most of the things that they are going to do in their lives. Their physical strength is waning, their social position has been passed on to those with more energy. They are left waiting and watching, looking into the darkness. And because they cannot do very much, their waiting is focussed on what God is doing in this darkness and on trusting in his purposes. So the light that Anna and Simeon see is the light that you perceive by waiting patiently in the darkness.
It is not therefore the light of easy triumph or simplistically hoping that things will come out all right in the end. It is a light for revelation, Simeon says, the revelation of the deeper purposes of love. This is how love works. It gives itself even in the darkest places and times. That is the light we celebrate at Candlemas.
As a tiny baby Jesus takes our weakness so that we can embrace the strength that is the divine love.