2021 Balfour Lecture – Dr Alison Wright

The Genetics Society is delighted to announce Dr Alison Wright as the 2021 Balfour Lecture winner.

Alison Wright is a NERC Independent Research Fellow in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield.  She received her DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2015 before taking up a postdoctoral position at University College London with Professor Judith Mank.  Alison started her current position as a Research Fellow in January 2017.

Work in Alison’s group is focused on studying the genomic and evolutionary processes underlying sex differences, and the relationship between genotype and complex phenotypes.  Her PhD research centered on the evolution of sex chromosomes across birds and their role in sexually dimorphic phenotypes.  Alison shifted focus in her postdoctoral work to investigate the genomic origins of sex chromosomes using comparative studies across guppy populations.  Recent work in her group studies how sex-specific selection pressures shape the evolution of gene regulation across portions of the genome that are shared equally between males and females.

The quality and impact of Alison’s research has been recognised by several international awards, including the Jasper-Loftus Hill Young Investigator Award in 2017 from the American Society of Naturalists, Certificate of Commendation in 2016 from the Zoological Society of London in recognition of the quality of her doctoral thesis, the SSE Presidents’ Award for an Outstanding Dissertation Paper in Evolution in 2015 and a Walter Fitch Prize Finalist in 2012 from the Society for Molecular Biology & Evolution.