Front view of Gurdon Institute

Two new Fellows of the Royal Society

06.05.21 The Gurdon Institute is proud to announce that two group leaders have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society.


Professor Julie Ahringer 

Julie Ahringer (below right) has made wide-ranging contributions to molecular genetics through her work on the nematode C. elegans.  She carried out the first systematic inactivation of all the genes in any animal, which pioneered genome-wide reverse genetic screening.

Her research has illuminated our understanding of the processes underlying cell polarity and gene expression. This includes showing that spindle positioning is controlled by heterotrimeric G-protein signalling, discovering a connection between chromatin marking and mRNA splicing, and most recently revealing mechanisms and principles of genome organisation and gene expression regulation. 

Julie is the Director and a Senior Group Leader of the Gurdon Institute, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and a member of EMBO.  She received the Royal Society Francis Crick Lecture Prize and the Genetics Society of America’s George W. Beadle Award.

“I am honoured to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Much of science today is done in teams, and this reflects the tremendous contributions of my past and present lab members,” said Julie.


Photo of Ben Simons and Julie Ahringer

Professor Benjamin David Simons

As a theorist, Ben Simons (above left) has contributed to a diverse range of fields, from quantum condensed matter physics to developmental and cancer biology. His research translates concepts and approaches from statistical physics to gain predictive insights in the collective dynamics of complex systems.

In biology, his studies have revealed common mechanisms of stem cell regulation, and how these programmes become subverted during the early phase of tumour growth.
Ben said “I am delighted to be elected to a Fellowship. I hope that my election may serve to emphasise the value of multidisciplinary research that stands at the interface between physics and the life sciences.”


Institute Alumnus is among the new Fellowship

Richard Benton, Professor at the Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, has also been elected FRS. Richard did his PhD in the early 2000’s in Daniel St Johnston’s lab at the Gurdon Institute. 

See all the new Fellows at the University of Cambridge.

Find the full list of new Fellows on the Royal Society website.