Professor Sir Adrian Bird wins leading brain research prize

We are very pleased to report that distinguished Lister Fellow Professor Sir Adrian Bird has been awarded the 2020 Brain Prize.

This award is the world’s biggest neuroscience prize and is given to outstanding neuroscientists whose research makes an enormous impact in the field.Professor Bird shared the prize with his collaborator Professor Huda Zoghbi, professor of genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, US.

The award recognised the team’s ground-breaking insights into the gene responsible for Rett syndrome, known as MECP2 which was discovered by Professor Bird in 1992.

Rett syndrome is a rare genetic disorder which can affect brain development. This causes serious mental and physical disabilities from early childhood and usually shortens the individual’s lifespan.

Following Professor Bird’s discovery of MECP2, Professor Zoghbi later proved that this gene is the cause of Rett syndrome and these twin achievements have also led to research demonstrating that some symptoms may be reversible.

This has helped inform the search for an effective treatment of the disease and also been very useful for research into potential causes, management and therapies for other neurological development disorders.

About the prize

The annual Brain Prize award is given by the largest private funder of neuroscience research in Denmark – the Lundbeck Foundation.

Winners are chosen, by a distinguished international selection panel, for the ground-breaking potential of their neuroscience research.

This year’s award will be officially presented at a ceremony in Copenhagen this September by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

You can find out more on the award website here.

About Professor Bird

Professor Bird is the Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, a position he has held since 1990. Over a highly distinguished career he has produced research at multiple institutions and received several awards.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London, former Director of the Wellcome Centre for Cell biology (1999-2011), a governor of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences as well as being knighted for his work in 2014.

You can find out more about Professor Bird’s research and career here.

We are delighted to hear about Professor Bird’s outstanding achievement and really pleased to have played a small part in supporting his research and career over the years.