Mary Marshall and Arthur Walton Professor of the Physiology of Reproduction
Professor Kathy Niakan is the Mary Marshall and Arthur Walton Professor of the Physiology of Reproduction, Chair of the Cambridge Reproduction Strategic Research Initiative and Director of the Centre for Trophoblast Research (CTR).
Her laboratory has pioneered approaches to investigate the function of genes that regulate early human development. She obtained the first nationally regulated approval to genetically modify human embryos in research which attracted widespread policy interest. She has provided evidence and advice in this area to members of the UK Parliament House of Commons and Lords Science and Technology Committees, European Commission, among numerous other international government agencies and policy teams. She has also provided expert evidence to the WHO and an International Commission on the clinical use of human germline genome editing.
Additionally, through long-standing collaborations, Professor Niakan’s laboratory has helped develop novel techniques for using mitochondrial replacement therapy to treat disease, and this collaborative work influenced the decision of the UK Parliament to approve the clinical use of these methods. The developmental processes studied by Professor Niakan are crucial to our understanding of human biology. Her research seeks to improve the clinical treatment of infertility and developmental disorders, and her advocacy is informing the ethical use of genome editing and stem cells in research and medicine.
Kathy was named one of Time magazine 100 most influential people and is a Blavatik Award Finalist for her pioneering research in human embryonic development, and for blazing a trail to obtain regulatory approval to perform research involving genome-editing in human embryos.