Published: 10 May 2023 | Last Updated: 10 May 2023 11:13:32

John Hutchinson, Professor of Evolutionary Biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), in recognition of his outstanding contribution to science. John joins a select group of scientists to be awarded an FRS and is one of only a few RVC members of staff to be granted this honour.

Professor John Hutchinson

The Royal Society is a self-governing fellowship made up of eminent scientists, engineers and technologists who are elected for life through a peer review process based on a substantial contribution to science and the improvement of knowledge of the natural world.

Professor Hutchinson’s research straddles the fields of evolutionary biology and biomechanics, with an emphasis on how very large animals stand and move as well as how locomotion evolved in different groups of land vertebrates, especially across major evolutionary transitions.

He has studied an extensive range of extant and extinct animals, from birds and crocodiles to elephants and dinosaurs, using a combination of theoretical and experimental techniques, such as motion analysis, 2D static mechanics or complex 3D fully dynamic computer simulations.

John’s research has been featured in more than 500 online/print news stories since 2002, and his team’s work has appeared in 20 major TV documentaries including the BAFTA award-winning original “Inside Nature’s Giants”; 2016’s “Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur”; “Attenborough and the Giant Elephant”; and Apple TV’s 2022 “Prehistoric Planet”.

Professor Hutchinson gained his bachelor’s degree in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin in 1993. He received a PhD in Integrative Biology at the University of California in 2001 and spent two years as a National Science Foundation Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University.

He joined the RVC as a Lecturer in Evolutionary Biomechanics in 2003, becoming a Professor in 2011.

In addition to his role at the RVC, John holds the position of President-Elect of the International Society of Vertebrate Morphology. He performs roles as an Editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society B and Associate Editor at the open access journal PeerJ. He is also a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the Zoological Society of London, the Anatomical Society (UK), the Higher Education Academy (UK) and the Royal Society of Biology.

Professor John Hutchinson, of the RVC, said:

“This is a great honour and privilege. My career has benefitted from the robust support of my family, my research team and external collaborators, the RVC and much more. I am enormously grateful for this.”

Professor Oliver Pybus FRS, Vice Principal for Research & Innovation at the RVC, said:

“Election to the fellowship of the Royal Society is a great acheivement and honour for any scientist. Prof Hutchinson’s election recognises his world-class research, which is notable not only for its excellence but also its interdisciplinary scope and public impact.”

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said:

“I am delighted to welcome our newest cohort of Fellows. These individuals have pushed forward the boundaries of their respective fields and had a beneficial influence on the world beyond.

Among this year’s intake are individuals who were at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic response, and those working on global challenges, from TB to climate change. They are pioneering scientists and innovators from around the world who have confounded expectations and transformed our thinking.

“This year’s intake have already achieved incredible things, and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so. I look forward to meeting them and following their contributions in future.”

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About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a Member Institution of the University of London.
  • It is one of the few veterinary schools in the world that hold accreditations from the RCVS in the UK (with reciprocal recognition from the AVBC for Australasia, the VCI for Ireland and the SAVC for South Africa), the EAEVE in the EU, and the AVMA in the USA and Canada.
  • The RVC is ranked as the top veterinary school in the world in the QS World University Rankings by subject, 2023.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
  • The RVC is a research-led institution, with 88% of its research rated as internationally excellent or world class in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.
  • The RVC provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals and first opinion practices in London and Hertfordshire.

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