Azim Surani
  • 2018 Canada Gairdner International Award


2018 Canada Gairdner International Award Developmental biologist. Director of Germline and Epigenomics Research in University of Cambridge. In 2018, he received the Canada Gairdner International Award for “the discovery of mammalian genomic imprinting that causes parent-of-origin specific gene expression and its consequences for development and disease.”

Education and Work Experience

1975, Ph.D., Cambridge University
1992-2012, Marshall-Walton Professor, the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge
2013-Present, Director of Germline and Epigenomics Research, University of Cambridge

Honors and Awards

2010, Royal Medal
2014, McEwan Award for Innovation, The International Society for Stem Cell Research 2018, Canada Gairdner International Award

Major Academic Achievements

Together, the work of Dr. Solter and Dr. Surani contributed to the understanding of the developmental consequences and molecular mechanisms of genomic imprinting. In 1984, they released parallel studies that demonstrated the concept of genomic imprinting. “Imprinted” genes are expressed only from either the maternally or the paternally inherited copy. Genomic imprinting has widespread roles in mammals,
affecting embryonic and placental development and transmission of nutrients to the fetus, and regulating critical aspects of mammalian physiology, such as metabolism, neuronal development and adult behaviour. Extensive research based on this discovery led to the identification of numerous imprinted genes whose alleles are differentially expressed depending on the parent of origin. Their work is one of the key discoveries that started
the field of epigenetics.