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Philip Ingham - New Director of Babraham Institute

13 September 2005

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Governing Body of the Babraham Institute are pleased to announce that Professor Philip Ingham FRS has been appointed Director of the Institute to succeed the retiring Director, Dr Richard Dyer.

A developmental geneticist, Professor Ingham is an international authority on genetic factors and signalling pathways that control embryonic development, using two model species – the fruit fly, Drosophila and the tropical zebrafish, Danio rerio.  He is particularly interested in the mechanisms and functions of the signalling pathway that involves the protein called Hedgehog, which plays a key role in controlling how cells become organised within different tissues in developing embryos. Abnormalities in the regulation of this pathway can lead to the formation of several types of tumour.

Speaking of the appointment, BBSRC Chief Executive Professor Julia Goodfellow said, “I am delighted for Babraham and for BBSRC science that we have attracted Philip Ingham to this post. His experience of working at the highest level at the interface between basic bioscience and biomedical research will be invaluable in taking forward the institute’s unique role in the UK research base.”  

Professor Ingham’s postdoctoral career took him to the CNRS Laboratory of Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics in Strasbourg, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) - now Cancer Research UK - laboratory at Mill Hill, London, the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge,  and the  ICRF Developmental Biology Unit in Oxford before he became a Principal Scientist at the ICRF laboratories in London. He was appointed Professor of Developmental Genetics at the University of Sheffield in 1996 where he established the Centre for Developmental Genetics within the School of Medicine and Biomedical Science.

In the first nine months of his appointment which takes effect from 1 January 2006, Professor Ingham will honour existing commitments to continue collaborative research with Professor Bill Chia at the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory in Singapore. He will take up his post at Babraham in September 2006. Dr John Bicknell, Associate Director, Research Management at Babraham and Head of the Institute’s Laboratory of Neuronal Development and Survival has been appointed Acting Director for the interim period.

Professor Ingham is 50 years of age and is married with three children. He was born in Liverpool and educated there before going to Cambridge University where he studied theology and genetics. His interests outside science include Renaissance choral music, theatre, gardening and sport – he is an avid supporter of Liverpool FC and an occasional tennis player and skier.


Notes to editors

Professor Ingham was Chairman of the British Society for Developmental Biology from 1999 to 2004, vice-chairman of the MRC/Wellcome Trust Human Developmental Biology Resource Steering Committee from 1999 to 2002, and a member of the EMBO Courses and Workshops committee from 2000 to 2005. He is currently serves on the International Scientific Advisory Boards of the Max-Planck-Institute for Entwicklungsbiologie, Tübingen and the SARS International Centre for Marine Biology, Bergen. He was European Editor of Developmental Biology from 1995-2003 and Reviews Editor of Developmental Cell between 2001 and 2003. He currently serves on the editorial board of twelve other leading journals including Genes & Development, the EMBO Journal and Current Biology and is Head of Faculty of the on-line review journal Faculty of 1000. He was awarded the medal of the Genetics Society of Great Britain in 2005. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Biology and the Academy of Medical Sciences as well as of the Royal Society.

About Babraham

The Babraham Institute is sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) It is an educational charity devoted to biomedical research and training aimed at understanding biological events that lie behind normal and abnormal functions of cells. The Institute’s research uses the latest technologies in the study of conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's, foetal abnormality and rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.babraham.ac.uk


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382