Richard Moxon, becomes Royal Society fellow (2007)

Richard at work (1975)

Richard Moxon FRS

Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics and Fellow of Jesus College.

University of Oxford

Richard Moxon is a retired clinical scientist who has dedicated much of his working life to research on meningitis and the development of vaccines to prevent this devastating infection.

At a young age, Richard decided that he wanted to be a doctor. He pursued his medical studies at Cambridge and St Thomas’ Hospital (1960-1966). In 1970, an American colleague persuaded him to apply to be a trainee at Boston Children’s Hospital, part of the Harvard Medical School, an experience that shaped his career. For the first time he met clinician scientists pursuing ground-breaking research and decided to extend his stay to do research on infectious diseases of children.  

In 1974, Richard was recruited to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore as Assistant Professor. He worked as a clinical infectious diseases specialist while continuing his research on H. influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis. Working in collaboration with Nobel Laureate, Hamilton Smith, Richard was one of the first to apply molecular genetics to infectious diseases and apply it to clinical practice, vaccine development, and public health. In 1979, he became the Head of Paediatric Infectious Diseases Division in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Centre.

In 1984, Richard and his family moved to Oxford University where he was appointed as the Professor and Chair of Paediatrics2 bringing infectious disease expertise in child health to the UK where, at the time, it was a non-existent specialty. Continuing his research, he was asked by the late Sir David Weatherall to be one of the founding scientists of the Institute of Molecular Medicine. During this time, Richard led UK trials of the Hib meningitis vaccine that has been responsible for saving thousands of lives and preventing even more cases of brain damage. He set up the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG)3, one of the largest university-based paediatric clinical trials units in the world.    

In his laboratory, Richard pioneered the application of genome sequencing into vaccine development, a technology that resulted, through collaboration with US and Italian scientists, in a vaccine against meningococcal meningitis that is now a routine immunisation for infants.

Since his retirement from the Chair of Paediatrics in the Oxford Medical School in 2005, he has continued to be involved in vaccine development4, working on scientific advisory committees, teaching in international vaccine courses and mentoring young scientists.

You might wonder if Richard has time for anything else in his life; he does. He is a dedicated father of three children and two granddaughters and a loving, if often distracted husband. He has a passion for classical music, plays tennis and golf, is a staunch fan of the England cricket, football and rugby union teams and enjoys relaxing ‘over a glass’ from his collection of fine wines.

Marianne Moxon. April 26.2020

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To Timothy Moxon for his hard work, patience and expertise in setting up MoxForum

To Marianne, my wife, for her encouragement and support.

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