Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
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Loeske Kruuk awarded Royal Society Research Professorship

Professor Loeske Kruuk will return to the School of Biological Sciences after being awarded a Royal Society Research Professorship, the Royal Society’s premier research award.

Professor Loeske Kruuk

Loeske, an evolutionary ecologist currently based at the Australian National University, is one of seven world-class scientists to receive the award.

These prestigious appointments provide long-term support for internationally recognised scientists of exceptional accomplishments from a range of diverse fields.

The awards help release researchers from competing duties, such as teaching and administration, allowing them to focus on ambitious and original research. 

They also enable international research talent to relocate to a UK academic institution. 

Evolution in changing environments

Loeske is interested in how evolution works, especially the role of genetics and environmental change, in wild animal populations.

She will take up the Research Professorship in December 2021, to study the genetic and short-term effects of rapid environmental changes – such as climate change or disease outbreaks - in animals.

The effects of environmental change are of major concern, but also present a unique opportunity to understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying biological change in wild animals. 

Loeske will use a global network of long-term studies of different mammal populations, combining life-history information with genomic data to test fundamental evolutionary theory. 

Her analyses will determine the importance of evolutionary genetic adaptation and short-term responses to environmental change, and the consequences for population dynamics.


Loeske did her PhD with Nick Barton, and then held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in the School of Biological Sciences. 

She moved to the Australian National University in Canberra in 2012, and currently holds an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship.

I am extremely honoured to have been awarded a Royal Society Research Professorship, and to hold it at the University of Edinburgh. The combination of long-term studies of wild animal populations with genomic data offers unprecedented opportunity for understanding evolutionary dynamics of natural populations.  I am immensely grateful to my collaborators on the different study systems in the project for making this opportunity possible, and to all my past and present colleagues and lab-members. 2021 may not be an easy year for relocating a family, and we will be sorry to leave Australia, but I am looking forward to returning to Edinburgh, and to engaging with colleagues in the School of Biological Sciences.

Professor Loeske KruukAustralian National University

We are delighted to have appointed seven Royal Society Research Professorships this year. It is becoming more important to enable world-leading talent such as these exceptional scientists. By offering long term support to carry out exciting and visionary research, these scientists will contribute to and strengthen the continued success of UK science.

Linda PartridgeBiological Secretary of the Royal Society

Related Links

Royal Society Announcement

Loeske Kruuk