The University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is consistently rated as one of the leading Universities in the world ( The Department of Genetics is over 100 years old and the current Department reflects the manner in which the discipline has now evolved beyond its traditional boundaries to become a fundamental part of biology and medicine. The Department has recently completed a third phase of refurbishment resulting in state of the art facilities for both experimental and dry computational research. High impact themes within the Department are Functional Genomics & Epigenetics,  Developmental Genetics, Evolution and Population Genetics, and Cellular Genetics. It hosts the  Bioinformatics  Training  Facility delivering practical training in the use of bioinformatics tools and computational biology approaches to data   analysis.

Short biography principal investigator

Anne C Ferguson-Smith

Anne C Ferguson-Smith

Anne Ferguson‐Smith is the Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics and Head of the Department of Genetics at the University of Cambridge. She is a fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, an elected member of EMBO and in 2017 was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Anne is both Chair of the Molecular and Cellular Medicine Board and sits on the Strategy Board of the UK’s Medical Research Council and is a member of several Scientific Advisory and Trustee Boards. She is Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge. Her research team of  18 contains both experimental and computational scientists carrying out a multidisciplinary research programme focusing on three themes with particular focus on parental origin effects in development: (a) stem cells and the epigenetic programme, (b) functional genomics and epigenomics and (c) development, environment and disease.

Anne Ferguson-Smith is/has been a member of the following EU FP7 funded programmes: EpiGenesys (2010-2015); INGENIUM Integrated Training Network (2012-2016), BLUEPRINT (2011-2016), EpiHealthNet Integrated Training Network (2013–2017), EpiHealth (2012-2016). She also holds an MRC programme grant ‘Genomic imprinting and the epigenetic control of developmental processes’ (2012-2023) and recently renewed Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award ‘Epigenetic inheritance: the influence of variable silencing of the repeat genome. ’ (2018-2024) and an NIH RO1 grant ‘Paternal Contributions to Metabolic Disease in Offspring’ (2016-2020). She has recently been awarded a BBSRC project grant (2018-2021) entitled ‘Targeting of Epigenetic states in mammals’. This active multi-disciplinary research programme provides a stimulating environment for trainees.

Key Research Facility and Equipment

The Ferguson-Smith lab is well-equipped for molecular genetics, embryological, stem cell and epigenetics experiments. The laboratory has access to facilities for the generation and phenotyping of mouse mutants and stem cell lines and access to high-throughput sequencing facilities and in-house bioinformatics within her own team. The  group  has expertise in quantitative expression, epigenomic, methylation and methylome analysis, chromatin conformation and immunoprecipitation analysis and protein biochemistry. The lab is well-equipped for molecular genetic, embryological, stem cell and epigenetics experiments. in-house rodent unit and facilities for the generation of mouse mutants and stem cells lines.

Current involvement in Research and Training Programmes

Ferguson-Smith contributed to the University of Cambridge’s Medical Research Council (MRC) Doctoral Training programme encompassing PhD training in the School of Clinical Medicine, School of Biological Sciences and Babraham Institute which oversees the MRCs biomedical postgraduate research training programme in Cambridge.

She hosts 6 PhD students in her laboratory providing a strong cohort of trainees who each have their own project but enjoy extensive collaborative interactions. Her team participate in many scientific and social activities together. She co-organises the Cambridge Epigenetics Club which currently has over 200 participants across Cambridge and the wider community.