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Department of Genetics



Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith is the current Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and the Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics at the University of Cambridge. Formally, she was the University’s Head of the Department of Genetics until December 2020. She is a mammalian developmental geneticist and epigeneticist. An expert on genomic imprinting, her team studies the epigenetic control of genome function with particular emphasis on epigenetic inheritance. Her group is made up of both experimental and computational scientists and current research focuses on three themes: (i) Stem cells and the epigenetic programme, (ii) Functional genomics and epigenomics, and (iii) the interaction between the environment and development, health & disease within and across generations. She was elected to EMBO in 2006, to the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2017. She became Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research (interim) at the University of Cambridge in January 2021.


Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic mechanism causing genes to be expressed depending on their parental origin. Our research investigates the mechanism and evolution of genomic imprinting and the function of imprinted genes in development and disease. Part of this programme considers the implications of epigenetic control in the development and function of the brain. We also use imprinting as a model system for analysing the epigenetic control of genome function and in particular the roles of DNA methylation and histone modifications in the regulation of gene activity and repression. Our work focuses on an imprinted domain that includes genes and non-coding RNAs that are expressed during neural development and in the adult brain. Little is known about the precise roles of these genes. We are taking molecular approaches using mouse genetic models to address the function of these genes.

Research Group Links

Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith :: Cambridge Neuroscience


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Full Publication List


Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of Cambridge
Areas of Interest: 
Epigenetic control of development and genome function
Email address: 
Department of Genetics,
University of Cambridge,
Downing Street,
Cambridge CB2 3EH,
United Kingdom
Office phone: 
+44 (0)1223 333834
Takes PhD students