Meet our President

Professor Laurence D. Hurst  F.MedSci., FRS

The Genetics Society is delighted to announce that Professor Laurence Hurst, Director of the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, has agreed to take over as Society President from Wendy Bickmore in November 2018. As such, Laurence joined the committee in May 2017 to shadow Wendy for the coming year.

Laurence was elected Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Science in 2015, with many other awards, prizes, fellowships, lectures, scientific publications, and board and committee memberships to his name. Public engagement activities also feature highly in Laurence’s outstanding career to date.

Laurence graduated with a degree in Natural Sciences (Zoology) from Churchill College, Cambridge, in 1987, followed only ten years later by a Chair in Evolutionary Genetics at the University of Bath. He did his doctoral studies under the supervision of Bill Hamilton FRS and Alan Grafen FRS in Oxford. Laurence’s research interests have covered a broad span of evolution, genetics and genomics, and his lab now predominantly use computational techniques to understand the way genes and genomes evolve.

Presently Laurence is especially interested in understanding whether selection might operate on what have commonly been assumed to be unimportant mutations (e.g. synonymous mutations, small genome re-arrangements) and if so why. This has relevance for the diagnosis of genetic diseases and for gene and genome manipulation. He is the founding Director of the Genetics and Evolution Teaching project devoted to large scale studies to test method for the teaching of both subjects from Primary School on.

Laurence will be steering the Genetics Society during its centenary year celebrations (2019) and is very much looking forward to his involvement.