Bruce Cattanach Prize 2023/24 Dr Matthew Higgs
The Genetics Society is delighted to announce Dr Matthew Higgs as the winner of the 2023/24 Bruce Cattanach Prize.
It is such an honour to receive the Bruce Cattanach Prize for my PhD thesis. I would like to first thank the Genetics Society for selecting me for this award. I would also like to thank my amazing supervisors, Prof Anthony Isles and Prof Rosalind John for their support over the years and a special thank you to Anthony for my nomination. Furthermore, this award recognises research using non-human in vivo animal models and I am deeply grateful to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research with the Mary Lyon Centre, International Facility for Mouse Genetics, at MRC Harwell for generating the mouse models used in my thesis.
With an academic background in biology and psychology and an insatiable interest in evolutionary genetics, I undertook a Wellcome-funded PhD programme in Integrative Neuroscience at Cardiff University. My PhD thesis was titled: ‘A Systems Level Approach to Identify and Validate Imprinted Genes Involved in Parental Care and the Associated Neural Circuitry’. The overarching aim of my work was to determine whether the long-standing relationship between imprinted genes and parenting behaviour would be reflected in the expression of imprinted genes in the parenting-associated neural circuitry of the brain. Alongside single-cell RNA sequencing and spatial analysis, I performed extensive parenting behaviour assessments on in-vivo mouse models. It’s amazing to be awarded this prize for my research on imprinted genes almost 40 years following Bruce’s seminal papers on the topic!
I am now working as a Science Writer with Front Line Genomics in which I produce articles and reports on topics in genetics to help scientists make sense of the field. This role allows me to combine my love of science communication with my interests in all things genetics.
“It’s a real honour to receive this award, I genuinely didn’t believe it when I was notified. I would like to give a deep thank you to everyone that has helped me get this far, especially to Prof. Anthony Isles for my nomination. It’s amazing to be awarded this prize for my research on imprinted genes almost 40 years following Bruce’s seminal papers on the topic!”