Adrian Bird is made Doctor of Science.
Professor Bird holds the Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh and is Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology.
He graduated in biochemistry from the University of Sussex, and obtained his PhD at Edinburgh University. Following postdoctoral experience at the Universities of Yale and Zurich, he joined the Medical Research Council's Mammalian Genome Unit in Edinburgh.
In 1987 he moved to Vienna to become a senior scientist at the newly founded Institute for Molecular Pathology. Dr Bird's research focuses on the basic biology and biomedical significance of DNA methylation (a type of chemical modification of DNA). His laboratory identified CpG islands as gene markers in the vertebrate genome and discovered proteins that read the DNA methylation signal to influence chromatin structure.
Mutations in one of these proteins, MeCP2, cause the autism spectrum disorder Rett Syndrome. Dr Bird's laboratory established a mouse model of Rett Syndrome and showed that the resulting severe neurological disorder can be cured.
His many prizes and awards include the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine (1999) and the Charles-Léopold Mayer Prize of the French Academy of Sciences (2008). He is a Governor of the Wellcome Trust, becoming Deputy Chairman in 2007.