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He received the honour for “pioneering discoveries on DNA methylation and its role in gene expression.” The award is presented by the Gairdner Foundation to reward scientific discoveries from every field of bioscience.
Established in 1957, the Foundation has gained a solid reputation for rewarding early the world’s most creative and accomplished biomedical scientists.
Around a quarter of the recipients of its International Award have subsequently gone on to win a Nobel Prize.
Professor Bird is the Director of the University’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, which hosts 16 world-class research groups.
Discoveries made by his laboratory have paved the way for research into treatment options for the autism spectrum disorder Rett Syndrome. He received the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine in 1999 and the Charles-Léopold Mayer Prize of the French Academy for Sciences in 2008.
He was a governor of the Wellcome Trust from 2000 to 2010 and is currently a Trustee of Cancer Research UK.