Two academics will receive awards from the Genetics Society

Genetics Society awards for two Exeter Academics

Two academics at the University of Exeter are set to receive prestigious awards from the Genetics Society.

Dr Sarah Flanagan, of the University of Exeter Medical School, will be presenting the Genetics Society's 2020 Balfour Lecture, and Professor Alastair Wilson, Centre for Ecology and Conservation, will receive the 2020 Mary Lyon Medal.

Both awards mark a significant contribution to genetics research. The Mary Lyon Medal is awarded to an outstanding researcher in their mid-career, while the Balfour lectureship is given to mark the contributions to genetics of a young investigator.

Sarah, a Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the University of Exeter Medical School, studies rare monogenic disorders of insulin secretion to improve understanding of biological pathways which are important for the development of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Sarah currently leads the Congenital Hyperinsulinism genetic research at the University of Exeter Medical School. Here she investigates genetic mechanisms of disease in individuals diagnosed with this condition, who are referred to Exeter from all over the world. Sarah also received the G.B. Morgagni Prize in 2018, which is awarded to a leading European-based metabolic researcher.

Sarah said: “It is a great honour to have been selected to receive the Balfour Medal. The monogenic research being undertaken in Exeter is a team effort which relies on the support of our collaborators, patients and their families. It is fantastic that this work has been recognised by the Genetics Society. I am very much looking forward to 'flying the flag for rare disease' at the award ceremony next year.”

Alastair, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, focuses on interactions between genetic and ecological processes, and asks how these determine the evolutionary dynamics of traits under natural selection. He joined the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, at the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus, in 2012.

Currently, he conducts research on many different natural populations of animals, but with a particular emphasis on the genetics underpinning behavioural evolution.

Alastair said: “It’s a real honour to receive the Mary Lyon medal. I’m very grateful to the Genetics Society and to all the amazing students, colleagues and collaborators that I have had the opportunity to work with. Without them not much would happen at all!”

Alastair will present his accompanying lecture in Autumn of 2020.

Date: 11 September 2019

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