EBEC2010 poster

Chopin 2010

Peter Mitchell Medal

2010 Peter Mitchell Medal and Lecture prize-winner is
Prof. Dr. Dieter Oesterhelt



The European Bioenergetics Conference, EBEC
The Peter Mitchell Medal and Lecture

Peter Mitchell

Peter Mitchell medal 2

Peter Mitchell medal 1

Peter Mitchell (1920-1992) was born in Mitcham, Surrey, UK. He was educated at the University of Cambridge and started his career as researcher at the same University. He received the degree of Ph.D. in 1951 and held a research position at the Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge, till 1955. Then, he was invited to set up and direct a biochemical research unit in the Department of Zoology, Edinburgh University, where he remained till 1963. Due to health problems, he temporarily withdrew from scientific research during 1963-1965 but remained active as architect and master of works, supervising the restoration of a mansion near Bodmin, Cornwall that he adapted for a research laboratory, the future famous Glynn Research Institute.

In 1961, Peter Mitchell published his pioneering article entitled ?Coupling of phosphorylation to electron and hydrogen transfer by chemi-osmotic type of mechanism? (Nature 191, 144-148), in which he outlined his concept on how energy of the electron transport in the mitochondrial respiratory chain is transformed into energy stored as pyrophosphate bonding within the molecule of ATP. His theory was reinforced by the subsequent discovery by other researchers of ATP synthase and elucidation of its structure as a membrane-bound protein complex that uses the potential energy of the electrochemical gradient to make ATP.

In 1965 Peter Mitchell resumed his research work in the newly founded Glynn Research Institute, helped by Jennifer Moyle, and continued it practically till his death. He provided new experimental arguments for his theory and extended it to photosynthesizing organelles, chloroplasts, and to prokaryotes.

For his discovery, fundamental to modern bioenergetics, Peter Mitchell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1978 (for his Nobel Prize lecture).


Procedure (as modified at the Advisory Committee meeting 2008)

§1. This procedure has been designed by EBEC to ensure the value of the already traditional Peter Mitchell Medal & Lecture, and to make the nomination and decision procedures transparent and consistent between different EBEC conferences, in order to secure the highest scientific quality of this honour in memory of Peter Mitchell.

§2. At its Meeting at each EBEC, the EBEC International Advisory Committee should appoint a Peter Mitchell Medal & Lecture Committee (PMC) for the next EBEC Meeting, and appoint a Chairman for that Committee, as follows (§3).

§3. The EBEC Meeting elects the Chairman of the PMC from former PM Medal Awardees, and all former PM Medal winners should be invited to be members of the PMC. The Chairman of the following EBEC will automatically be member and Executive Secretary of the PMC. The Chairman of the current EBEC will also automatically be a member of the PMC. Four additional members of the PMC should be elected by the Meeting. Nominations for Chairman and for four additional members are taken from the floor, and decisions are made by majority vote. The four additional members are not required to be members of the EBEC International Advisory Committee.

§4. At the end of each EBEC, a PM medal for presentation to the next awardee and these procedural rules will be given to the Chairman of the next EBEC, along with the EBEC flag.

§5. The PMC Executive Secretary should start acquiring nominations for the recipient of the PM Medal & Lecture at least 12 months before the EBEC, and transfer the results to the members of the PMC at least 9 months before the EBEC.

§6. Nominations should be requested by the Executive Secretary from all members of the EBEC international advisory committee, from all national European Bioenergetics Groups, and from all previous recipients of the PM Medal & Lecture. Nominations from additional individuals or groups in the international bioenergetics community should also be solicited, for example, through the email list for the attendees of the previous EBEC.To help the committee, the nomination should describe briefly the achievements of the nominee that qualify him or her for consideration for the award. The nomination should be accompanied by an up to date curriculum vitae of the candidate.

§7. The Executive Secretary of the PMC will collect all nominations. Except under exceptional circumstances, nominations of previous awardees of the PM Medal & Lecture will not be accepted. If a member of the PMC is nominated for the PM Medal & Lecture, the nominee has the choice of either stepping down from PMC, or of declining the nomination. Once this is done, all nomination materials will be distributed to the entire PMC.

§8. The PMC will assess the nominations confidentially, led by its Chairman. The decision is made by majority vote in a ballot among the members. The Chairman has the casting vote, which decides in case of a tie. The decision should be made at least 6 months before the EBEC, and these proceedings, including names of nominees, should be kept strictly confidential.

§9. The chosen recipient of the PM Medal & Lecture should be given the decision by the local EBEC organisers, and be invited to present his/her lecture at the meeting, where it should be given a prominent place. The local organisers should waive the conference registration fee for the Winner of the PM Medal & Lecture and, if finances allow, also cover travel and accommodation costs.

§10. The previous PM Medal & Lecture awardees are

1994 P. Leslie Dutton
1996 John E. Walker
1998 Wolfgang Junge
2000 M?rten Wikström
2002 Horst Witt (deceased)
2004 Harmut Michel
2006 Masasuke Yoshida
2008 David G. Nicholls

§11. The PMC reserves the right not to award the PM Medal & Lecture in any particular year.


You can download Peter Mitchell Medal Procedure here.