College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Nobel for IVF pioneer

IVF pioneer and University graduate Robert Edwards has won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Prof Edwards is a key figure in the development of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), a procedure in which egg cells are fertilised outside the body and implanted in the womb.

His research has helped to enable millions of infertile couples throughout the world to have children.

Fertility research

Prof Edwards began research into IVF during the 1950s, when he was a student at the University’s Institute of Animal Genetics.

While at the University, he became fascinated with the reproduction of mice and other animals - laying the foundations for his future work on IVF. He completed his PhD at Edinburgh in 1955.

In 1963, he moved to the University of Cambridge, where he worked with fellow researcher Patrick Steptoe on the development of IVF in people.

On July 25 1978, Louise Brown in Britain became the first baby born through the groundbreaking procedures developed by the researchers, marking a revolution in fertility treatment.

His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity including more than 10 percent of all couples world-wide.

Nobel Prize for Medicine Committee

Roslin Institute

The Institute of Animal Genetics where Prof Edwards studied is now part of the University’s Roslin Institute.

The Roslin Institute is known for its expertise in genetics and genomics. Dolly the Sheep was cloned there in 1996.

It has been involved in international collaborations to sequence and analyze genomes for chicken, pig, sheep and cattle with a view to better understanding disease.

Other areas of expertise at the Institute include studying infection and the role of the immune system, developmental biology and neuropathogenesis.