History of the Unit

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visiting the unit

History of the Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit






MRC Human Genetics Unit

Professor Nick Hastie, arrived over 30 years ago to take up a post as a senior group leader. After being Director for 21 years, Professor Hastie was succeeded by Professor Wendy Bickmore. Professor Bickmore was previously Head of the Chromosomes and Gene Expression Section in the Unit.


In 2012, the MRC Human Genetics Unit became part of The University of Edinburgh. The unit remains funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and continues to follow the MRC's strategic research plan, but by being closely integrated with the University and a partner in the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at The University of Edinburgh it can also benefit from shared resources and closer collaboration.



MRC Human Genetics Unit Directors


Clinical Effects of Radiation Research Group

First established in 1956 as the Clinical Effects of Radiation Unit under the directorship of Professor W M Court-Brown. Over the years, with the expansion of research and the increase in staff, the unit was eventually re-housed in a new building and in 1967 the unit became known as the MRC Clinical and Population Cytogentics Unit.

MRC Clinical and Population Cytogenetics Unit

Following the arrival of a new Director, Professor John Evans, in 1969, the unit continued to grow considerably in size and reputation and in 1974 the new four storey Genetics Building was officially opened.

In 1988 the unit changed its name to the MRC Human Genetics Unit.