Azim Surani

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Azim Surani

Born1945 (age 74–75)
Alma materPlymouth University (BSc)
University of Strathclyde (MSc)
University of Cambridge (PhD)
AwardsGabor Medal (2001)
Royal Medal (2010)
Mendel Lectures (2010)
Gairdner Foundation International Award (2018)[1]
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
ThesisModulation of Implanting Rat Blastocysts to Macromolecular Secretions of the Uterus (1975)
Doctoral advisorRobert Edwards
Doctoral studentsKat Arney[2]
Other notable studentsAnne Ferguson-Smith (postdoc)[3]

Azim Surani CBE FRS FMedSci[1] (born 1945 in Kisumu, Kenya) is a developmental biologist who has been Marshall–Walton Professor at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge since 1992, and Director of Germline and Epigenomics Research since 2013.[4][5]


Surani was educated at Plymouth University (BSc),[when?] the University of Strathclyde (MSc)[6] and the University of Cambridge (PhD) where his research was supervised by Robert Edwards, who later won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.[1][6][7]

Career and research

Surani co-discovered mammalian genomic imprinting with Davor Solter[8] in 1984, and subsequently examined its mechanism and the functions of imprinted genes.[1] He later established the genetic basis for germ cell specification, using a single-cell analysis in mice.[1] This genetic network also initiates the unique resetting of the germline epigenome, including comprehensive erasure of DNA methylation towards re-establishing full genomic potency.[1] Epigenetic modifications and re-establishments of imprints then generate functional differences between parental genomes whilst aberrant imprints contribute to human disease.[1]

Surani's research is identifying key regulators of human germ line development and epigenome reprogramming, revealing differences between humans and mice attributable to their divergent pluripotent states and early postimplantation development.[1] He is also investigating transposable elements, host defence mechanisms, noncoding RNAs, and the potential for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in mammals.[1]

Awards and honours

Surani has received several awards for his work including the Royal Medal (2010), the Gabor Medal (2001) and the Mendel Lectures (2010).[citation needed] He received the Canada Gairdner International Award, with Davor Solter, "For the discovery of mammalian genomic imprinting that causes parent-of-origin specific gene expression and its consequences for development and disease."[9] He won the Rosenstiel Award in 2006, with Solter and Mary Lyon, for "pioneering work on epigenetic gene regulation in mammalian embryos".[10]

External links


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Anon (1990). "Professor Azim Surani". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 November 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

  2. ^ Arney, Katharine Luisa (2002). Epigenetic modification in the mouse zygote and regulation of imprinted genes (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 894595629.
  3. ^ Ferguson-Smith, A. C.; Cattanach, B. M.; Barton, S. C.; Beechey, C. V.; Surani, M. A. (1991). "Embryological and molecular investigations of parental imprinting on mouse chromosome 7". Nature. 351 (6328): 667–670. doi:10.1038/351667a0. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 2052093. closed access
  4. ^ Azim Surani publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Azim Surani — The Gurdon Institute". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b McFarlane, Alan (2009). "Azim Surani interviewed by Alan Macfarlane". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016.
  7. ^ Surani, M. A. H. (1975). Modulation of Implanting Rat Blastocysts to Macromolecular Secretions of the Uterus. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 500574338.
  8. ^ Anne C. Ferguson-Smith, Deborah Bourc'his (2018). "The discovery and importance of genomic imprinting". eLife. 7: e42368. doi:10.7554/eLife.42368. PMC 6197852. PMID 30343680.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Gairdner Awards 2018 Laureates | Gairdner Foundation". Gairdner Foundation. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Past Winners". Brandeis University. Retrieved 25 March 2019.