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BBSRC congratulates grant holder Professor Sir Martin Evans on winning 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine

9 October 2007

At its meeting today Dr Peter Ringrose, Chairman of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council led the Council’s warm congratulations to Professor Sir Martin Evans and his colleagues in winning the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Sir Martin, together with his US-based colleagues Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies, pioneered the development of gene knockout technology. This has allowed scientists to study human diseases in mice by making genetic changes to the animal’s stem cells. The technique has given scientists ways to study almost any aspect of mammalian physiology, including embryo development, ageing and disease.

Sir Martin is the former Director of the School of Biosciences and Professor of Mammalian Genetics at Cardiff University. He has received significant BBSRC grant funding to investigate the fundamental biology of stem cells and their differentiation. Using the gene knockout technique that he has received Nobel recognition for, Sir Martin has used BBSRC funding to study stem cell differentiation and manipulation and is currently investigating the role of an important signalling chemical in mice.

Steve Visscher, BBSRC interim Chief Executive, congratulated Sir Martin on behalf of the BBSRC research community: “The work of a large proportion of the BBSRC research community relies on the technique of gene knockout that Sir Martin Evans and his colleagues developed. Everyone working in fundamental bioscience research will be delighted in this recognition for Sir Martin's fundamental research in this area.

“It is heartening to see a British scientist, engaged in fundamental bioscience research in the UK, receiving the highest scientific accolade. BBSRC has supported the development of Sir Martin’s gene knockout technique and we look forward to seeing this science applied by UK researchers to further our understanding of basic stem cell science and mammalian physiology.”

ENDS

About BBSRC

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

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