Genetics Society Medal 2024 Prof Rob Martienssen

The Genetics Society is delighted to announce Prof Rob Martienssen, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, as the winner of the 2024 Genetics Society Medal.

Rob Martienssen received his undergraduate and graduate training in Genetics at Cambridge University, and joined the faculty at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1989 following postdoctoral studies at the University of California at Berkeley. His research focuses on epigenetic mechanisms that shape and regulate the genome, and their impact on development and inheritance. He works on transposable elements, first discovered by McClintock and prevalent in all organisms, and has shown that small RNA guide histone modification and chromosome segregation in fission yeast, as well as chromosome dosage and transposon control in the plant germline. He has co-discovered genes and transposons that underlie developmental and epigenetic traits in the oil palm, and greatly impact yield and sustainability.

Rob received the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Award in 2003 for his work revealing a link between epigenetic modifications of the chromosome and RNA interference. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Fellow of the Royal Society and Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He held the Chair Blaise Pascal at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris in 2011-2014. He was awarded the McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics in 2018, the Martin Gibbs Medal from the American Society of Plant Biology in 2019, and the Royal Society Darwin Medal in 2020. He is a co-founder of Orion Genomics LLC, a biotechnology company based in St Louis MO and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia