Microinjector on microscope stage from Surani lab

Azim Surani wins Mendel Medal 2022

Azim Surani colour portrait

The Mendel Medal 2022 has been awarded by the Genetics Society jointly to Azim Surani (Director of Germline and Epigenetics Research at the Gurdon Institute) and Davor Solter (currently Visiting International Professor, Siriraj Center for Excellence in Stem Cell Research, Mahidol University Medical School, Bangkok). The award is for their discovery in 1984 of genomic imprinting (for which they have also jointly won the 2018 Canada Gairdner International Award).

As described on the Genetics Society website, genomic imprinting has been pivotal for advances in epigenetics and mammalian development, showing that parental chromosomes retain a memory of their origin with heritable DNA methylation tags, which regulate the expression of parental alleles with a role in mammalian development, growth, behaviour and human diseases. 

In more recent work, Azim has elucidated the hitherto unknown genetic basis for mammalian germ cell specification in mice and humans, and the mechanisms regulating the unique germline epigenetic programme. He is also studying in vitro models of early human development, the germline and in vitro gametogenesis.