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Cecilia Lindgren

Cecilia Lindgren, Director of the Big Data Institute and Professor of Genomic Endocrinology & Metabolism at Oxford Population Health, has been awarded the 2023 Mary Lyon Medal by the Genetics Society.

Named after the distinguished geneticist Mary Lyon FRS, the award was established in 2015 to recognise outstanding research in genetics by scientists who are in the middle of their research career.

Professor Lindgren’s research seeks to advance understanding of the mechanisms involved in obesity and the distribution of fat to help address the growing challenge of obesity and its consequences worldwide. By applying a range of genetic and genomic approaches, she expects to identify genetic variants influencing regional fat distribution, and to illuminate some of the biological pathways involved.

Professor Lindgren said ‘I’m really humbled to have been chosen by the Genetics Society for the 2023 Mary Lyon Medal for my research contributions to human genetics. It’s a tremendous recognition that I owe to my team members and collaborators – current and past.’

Cecilia has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the Rising Star Award from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (2010), the Association for the Study of Obesity’s Obesity and Cardiovascular Health Award (2011), the inaugural Leena Peltonen Prize for Excellence in Human Genetics (2013), the 30th Khwarizmi International Award (2017), and the American Society of Human Genetics Mentorship Award (2018). She has been listed amongst Thomson Reuters 100 “most highly cited researchers” in Molecular Biology and Genetics consecutively since 2014.

Mary Lyon was fascinated by the advances in experimental embryology in the 1930s. It seemed to her that genes must underlie all embryological development - a relatively new idea at the time. After obtaining a PhD, she went on to study the genetic hazards of radiation and moved to the Medical Research Council Radiobiology unit at Harwell, in Oxfordshire where she remained for the rest of her career. In 2004, the Medical Research Council opened a national facility for functional genomics at Harwell called the Mary Lyon Centre in recognition of Mary’s contribution to science.

The Genetics Society is a registered charity; founded in 1919, it is the world’s first society devoted to the study of the mechanisms of inheritance. It is also one of the world's oldest learned societies. Genetics Society Membership includes over 2,000 of the UK's active professional geneticists, including teachers, researchers and students.

Professor Lindgren will present the Mary Lyon Lecture and receive the accompanying medal at the annual Genetics Society meeting in 2023.

Cecilia is one of six researchers to receive Genetics Society 2023 Awards, three of whom work at the University of Oxford.