Adrian Bird

Adrian Bird chairs the Scientific Advisory Board.

Adrian has held the Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh since 1990 and is a member of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology. He graduated in biochemistry from the University of Sussex in 1968 and obtained his PhD at Edinburgh University; subsequent roles included Senior Scientist at the newly-founded Institute for Molecular Pathology in Vienna. He was a governor of the Wellcome Trust from 2000-2010 and is currently a trustee of Cancer Research UK. He received a knighthood in 2014. 

Adrian's research focuses on the basic biology and biomedical significance of DNA methylation and other epigenetic processes. His laboratory identified CpG islands as gene markers in the vertebrate genome and discovered proteins that read the DNA methylation signal to influence chromatin structure. Mutations in one of these proteins, MeCP2, cause the severe neurological disorder Rett Syndrome. The Bird laboratory established a mouse model of Rett Syndrome and showed that the resulting severe neurological phenotype can be cured.

Adrian's awards include the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine, the Gairdner International Award, the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award and the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.