Azim Surani - UK
University of Cambridge
Azim Surani is the Director of Germline and Epigenomics Research and a member of the Physiology, Development and Neuroscience Department at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, UK. He is a Founding Member of the Stem Cell Consortium at the University of Cambridge and a Senior Investigator at Wellcome Trust, UK.
Azim Surani was born in Kenya, and obtained his PhD in 1975 at Cambridge University under Professor Sir Robert Edwards FRS (Nobel Laureate, 2010).
He discovered the phenomenon of Genomic Imprinting in 1984, a pivotal discovery that established the field of epigenetics. He showed that chromosomes retain a memory of their parental origin in the form of DNA methylation tags that are erased and then re-established in the germline. He went onto identify several imprinted genes and their functions, in development, growth and behaviour, which were also shown to contribute to human diseases.
Azim Surani was appointed the Marshall-Walton Professor at the Wellcome Trust Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute in 1992.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and has multiple awards, including a Gabor and a Royal Medal awarded by the Royal Society, the ISSCR McEwen Award for Innovation, and the Gairdner International Award for genomic imprinting.
He has multiple peer reviewed publications to his credit. His recent work has focused on the genetic basis for mouse and human germ cell specification, and the initiation of the unique epigenetic program towards generating the totipotent state.