Professor Nicholas Hastie
MRC Human Genetics Unit Director 1994 - 2015
Professor Nick Hastie became Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit in 1994, and in 2007 also became the inaugural Director of the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (now the Institute of Genetics and Cancer) at the University of Edinburgh. Nick Hastie attended Colwyn Bay Grammar School in North Wales and he went on to receive an honours degree in Medical Microbiology at Liverpool University. Following that, he carried out his PhD work on Influenza Replication at Cambridge University. Since then, he has worked in many areas including gene expression, genome organisation (including telomeres) and protein evolution. He has had a long-term interest in human developmental genetics, concentrating on the childhood kidney cancer, Wilms’ tumour. His most recent work has uncovered mechanisms underlying key developmental switches during kidney and cardiovascular development. His group has also identified visceral fat progenitors and their developmental origins. Over the past few years Professor Hastie has also become heavily engaged in a major population genetics project to identify genetic risk factors for common disease.
Professor Hastie has played an important role in international science. He was an International Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is Chairperson of a number of Scientific Advisory Boards, including (until 2010) that for the Sanger Institute and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. Professor Hastie has been a member of the MRC and CRUK Strategy Development Committees and he has just joined the newly formed Wellcome Trust Collaborative/Investigator Panel. He also sat on the ERC Advanced Panel for Genomics, Genetics and Systems Biology. Nick was European Editor of Genes & Development for a decade and currently sits on the Advisory Boards of Genes & Development and Disease and Developmental Mechanisms.
Professor Hastie has received numerous honours during his career, including being made a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Member of EMBO and was awarded a CBE for Services to Science in 2006. He was awarded the Medal of the Genetics Society of the UK in 2008. In additional to his scientific legacy, Professor Hastie has been highly valued as a mentor and for his contribution to training and career advancement of researchers at all levels at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. He continues in this capacity as Director of Academic Development at the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine.