Professor Tom Solomon, the President of the Encephalitis Society, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to Neurological and Emerging Infections Research, including during the COVID-19 response.

Professor Solomon, who joined Liverpool in 1998 from the University of Oxford, 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.

Commenting on the honour, 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.

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. Also for the Encephalitis Society, 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 is also very active on Twitter and hosts the Scouse Science Podcast.

Dr Ava Easton, the Chief Executive of the Encephalitis Society, said: 

I am thrilled that Professor Tom Solomon has been honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. He has had a long, distinguished, global career at the cutting edge of Neurology and Emerging Infections Research and been at the forefront of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic for the past 18 months. Tom has been an important part of the Encephalitis Society for nearly 25 years and is beloved by everyone for what he has done to improve diagnosis and treatment of encephalitis as well as raise awareness of the condition. I am sure I speak for everyone at the Encephalitis Society when I wish him our sincerest congratulations.