Professor Tom Solomon (Medicine, 1984-1990) has been made a CBE for his services to Neurological and Emerging Infections Research, including during the COVID-19 response.
Dr James Alan Kuht (Medicine, 2009-2015) has been made an MBE for his work in the Royal Air Force.
Wadham Emeritus Fellow Stephen Goss, who tutored both Tom and James commented: “I am proud that two of our medical graduates have been honoured in the same Birthday Honours list. I am delighted that their important and quite different contributions to public service have been rightly recognised.”
Professor Tom Solomon
Professor Solomon moved from Oxford to the University of Liverpool in 1998 where he is director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections. The Unit has played a major role in the UK and international response to Ebola, Zika and most recently COVID-19. Professor Solomon has had several key roles during the coronavirus pandemic, including chairing government research funding committees, advising the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on vaccine safety, and leading research on neurological complications of COVID-19.
Professor Solomon heads a large research group which studies emerging brain infections in the UK and globally, with programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America. His clinical work in Liverpool is as an honorary consultant neurologist at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool University Hospitals. He is internationally renowned for his expertise in encephalitis, inflammation and swelling of the brain. In Asia he showed the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus is a major brain infection and spearheaded a World Health Organisation campaign to reduce the disease through vaccination. He is an advisor to the UK Government and World Health Organisation on emerging infections. Earlier this year he was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. At the University of Liverpool he is an Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor in the University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.
Professor Solomon is also president of the Encephalitis Society and a passionate advocate for public engagement in science. This includes his popular science book, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine, about his friendship with the word-famous author, and the linked sell-out show at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017. He won two Guinness World Records, for creating the world’s largest brain made of people, and for running the fastest marathon dressed as a doctor. He tweets @RunningMadProf and hosts the Scouse Science Podcast.
Commenting on the news Professor Solomon said, “I am truly honoured by this award, which reflects the tremendous support I have had from family and friends, plus the enormous efforts of a very large group of colleagues over many years. When I first started working on emerging infections in Asia 25 years ago, many people thought this was a rather esoteric and niche subject. But over the last 18 months we have all seen the enormous impact such infections can have, and how important an area this is.”
Flight Lieutenant Dr James Kuht
James Kuht joined the RAF in 2007 and came up to Wadham in 2009 to study Medicine with RAF sponsorship. After doing his Foundation Doctor years in North Yorkshire, he developed a special interest in the application of software and particularly machine learning to Medicine. Having built a machine-learning powered tool to help field medics diagnose injuries to nerves and blood vessels from cold exposure, he was recruited to an armed forces innovation lab (the ‘jHub’ - which you can read more about here) to work on a variety of military projects.
During his time at the jHub, James led three award-winning innovation projects. James built a software development and machine learning teaching program for armed forces personnel which has now upskilled over 2000 soldiers, sailors and aviators who have collaboratively built over 200 software and machine-learning products. He also led the creation of the MoD’s first Mixed-Reality Simulation trainer which is currently in use, as well as a novel mobile application for delivering musculoskeletal injury rehabilitation that integrates with wearables which he tested on personnel across the country. His MBE was awarded for ‘Leadership of Innovation’ in the armed forces.
After a brief foray back into clinical practice for the first wave of the Covid pandemic, James took a secondment to 10 Downing Street’s Data Science team. You can hear more about his work in No.10 at 1:00:25 in his talk at the Institute for Government.