Professor Wendy Bickmore appointed CBE in New Year Honours List

We are delighted to report that member of the Lister Institute’s Governing Body Professor Wendy Anne Bickmore has been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list. She receives the award for services to biomedical sciences and to women in science.

Professor Bickmore is Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh. She is also a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was President of The Genetics Society from 2015 to 2018, and is an editor on many journals including PLoS Genetics and Cell.

The New Year Honours List, published on Thursday 31 December, “recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK.” The honour reflects Professor Bickmore’s outstanding research career, her mentorship of women, and her role as academic lead for a training scheme for early career researchers at Edinburgh University’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

She has spent her career researching the three-dimensional organisation of the human genome and how that influences genome function in health and disease. During her time as an independent Fellow of the Lister Institute (1991-1996), Professor Bickmore showed that different human chromosomes have preferred positions in the nucleus, related to their gene content. Her work has also demonstrated that some epigenetic mechanisms function by compacting chromatin.

She and her team of researchers continue to focus on the spatial organisation of the nucleus, and how that influences development and disease. This work includes examining how enhancer elements in the non-coding part of the human genome communicate with gene promoters.

The Orders of the British Empire were created by King George V during World War I to reward services to the war effort at home in the UK. The honour continues to be awarded to people who have made a distinguished, innovative contribution to any area of society.