Institute of Genetics and Cancer

CBE for Prof Wendy Bickmore in Queen's New Year Honours

Professor Wendy Bickmore, Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit, has been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of her services to biomedical sciences and to women in science: January 2021

Wendy Bickmore portrait

Professor Bickmore’s research is inspired by her fascination of the structure and organization of chromatin in the nucleus. Her research group showed that different human chromosomes have preferred positions in the nucleus, related to their gene content, and addressed how genes are organized and packaged in the nucleus and how they move in the cell cycle and during development. She demonstrated that some epigenetic mechanisms function by compacting chromatin.

Current research in Wendy Bickmore’s laboratory focuses on how the spatial organization of the nucleus influences genome function in development and disease, including how enhancer elements in the non-coding part of the human genome communicate with gene promoters.

Professor Bickmore’s recent honour not only reflects her research career but also her long-standing leadership and mentorship of women in science as Director of the UK’s largest Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit and as academic lead for the Edinburgh Scientific Academic Track – a training scheme for early career researchers at Edinburgh University’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

Professor Bickmore is an EMBO member, a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She was the president of the Genetics Society of Great Britain from 2015 to 2018. She is also an editor on many journals including PLoS Genetics and Cell.

I am delighted to receive this honour and its recognition of the importance of science in public life.

Professor Wendy BickmoreDirector, MRC Human Genetics Unit

This is testament to Wendy’s own wonderful science and to her leadership roles here in IGMM as Director of HGU, more widely in our University, for the MRC and beyond in multiple roles, and for her drive to improve research culture, especially providing mentorship and opportunities for women in science.

Professor Margaret FrameDirector, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine