MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit


Long-serving staff congratulated with awards from Principal

Dedicated members of staff have recently been recognised by the University of Edinburgh for 25 and 40 years’ service: December 2019

IGMM staff long service awards
With the University Principal, left to right: Harris Morrison, Laura Lettice, Fiona Kilanowski

On 2 December 2019, Harris Morrison, Fiona Kilanowski and Dr Laura Lettice were presented with Long Service Awards by Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University.

The University of Edinburgh’s Long Service Award scheme directly supports the University’s core values and, in particular, valuing people. The scheme is embedded within a culture of celebration of success and of individual achievement. An annual award ceremony celebrates staff who have reached the milestones of 25, 40 and 50 years continuous service with the University.

Harris Morrison is the Optical Projection Tomography Applications Specialist within the Advanced Imaging Resource at the MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine. Harris has worked at the Western General Hospital Campus for 40 years where his expertise has included primary tissue culture, flow cytometry and cytogenetics. Harris was employed by the MRC Human Genetics Unit in 1979 - then the MRC Clinical and Population Cytogenetics Unit - and now specializes in imaging.

We are delighted that Harris has achieved 40 years’ service and offer him our sincere congratulations. He has a wide range of experience and a depth of knowledge having worked on several different projects through his career. Harris is a real asset to the imaging team and we are looking forward to continuing to work with him in the future.

Dr Ann WheelerHead of Facility, Advanced Imaging Resource, MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine

Fiona Kilanowski is a member of Dr Ian Adam’s Research Group and runs the embryonic stem cell facility at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. Over the last 40 years, Fiona’s research has included karyotyping and cell culture at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research - some of the first embryonic stem cell targeting – and developing a number of important disease models and perfecting the use of new techniques.

Fiona is an outstanding and dedicated research support specialist who has incredible knowledge and expertise about embryonic stem cell culture. Fiona is so friendly, approachable and skilled that it is not surprising she is the main source of help and advice with embryonic stem cells or that she has made so many significant contributions to key discoveries made at the Unit over the past 40 years. Many congratulations, Fiona!

Dr Ian AdamsProgramme Leader, MRC Human Genetics Unit

Dr Laura Lettice is a Senior Scientist in Professor Robert Hill's Research Group at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. Over the past 25 years Laura has been interested in patterning in the early limb bud, specifically why some people are born with more than five digits. Laura’s research is now addressing broader questions about the control of developmental gene expression and she also lectures undergraduate Biological Sciences students.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with Laura over this highly productive 25 years. She is an extraordinarily dedicated scientist and on a day to day basis is resourceful and perhaps even considered tenacious in attacking a research problem. She has made her mark as an outstanding mouse geneticist and I expect her contributions and insights into understanding developmental mechanisms will continue well into the future. 

Professor Robert HillGroup Leader, MRC Human Genetics Unit

Congratulations also to Pauline McDonald, MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine and to Professor Malcolm Dunlop and Marion Walker of the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre for their 25 years’ Long Service Awards.