Mabel FitzGerald Prize Lecture: Epigenetic inheritance – models and mechanisms


Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and International Partnerships at the University of Cambridge. She is the Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics (since 2015). Formerly, she was the University’s Head of the Department of Genetics until December 2020. She became the President of the Genetics Society in 2021, and is a member of the UKRI BBSRC Council.

Professor Ferguson-Smith is a mammalian developmental geneticist and epigeneticist. An expert on genomic imprinting, her team studies the epigenetic control of genome function with particular emphasis on epigenetic inheritance. Her group is made up of both experimental and computational scientists and current research focuses on three themes: (i) stem cells and the epigenetic programme, (ii) functional genomics and epigenomics, and (iii) the interaction between the environment and development, health and disease within and across generations.

She was elected to EMBO in 2006, to the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the Society of Biology in 2012, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2017. In 2014 she was as awarded the Women in Science Heirloom Award for contributions to life sciences, In 2019 she was awarded the Feldberg Prize and in 2021 the Buchanan Medal and the Society for Reproduction and Fertility, Anne McLaren Distinguished Scientist Award. Professor Ferguson-Smith became Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research in 2021 and was appointed to the Research and International Partnerships role in 2022. She is a Fellow of Darwin College, University of Cambridge.