Director, Germline and Epigenomics Research
Member, Physiology, Development and Neuroscience Department
The Gurdon Institute
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Azim Surani, born in Kenya received a Ph.D. at Cambridge University under Professor Sir Robert Edwards FRS (Nobel Laureate, 2010) in mammalian development. Surani joined the Babraham Institute in 1979, where he discovered parent of origin specific ‘Genomic Imprinting’ in 1984, and the intergenerational transmission of epigenetic information. He subsequently identified novel ‘imprinted’ genes and their regulatory elements, and examined their functions in mammalian development. His work also contributed to the mechanism of genomic imprinting through establishment and erasure of DNA methylation. He joined the Wellcome Trust Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge in 1992 as the Marshall-Walton Professor, and subsequently Director of Research and Wellcome Trust Investigator. His recent work includes genetic basis of mouse and human germ cell specification and epigenetic programming, as well as resetting of the epigenome in mouse and human germline towards totipotency. His other interests include early human development and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1990, and amongst other honours, he was awarded a Royal Medal in 2010.