Background & History
The Waddington Medal, the only national award in developmental biology, is awarded for outstanding research performance as well as services to the subject community. The medal is awarded annually at the BSDB Spring Meeting, where the recipient presents the Waddington Medal Lecture. The medal was announced in 1997 [letter #36] and first awarded in 1998 (see below). BSDB members are invited to nominate suitable candidates.
Conrad Waddington was a leading British embryologist and geneticist who was highly influential in the development of both subjects during the 1930s through to the 1960s. He stressed the importance of genes and the control of gene activity in embryonic development even before the chemical nature of the gene was discovered. He had started his career as a palaeontologist , and the design on the medal shows an ammonite, a type of animal whose shell structure reveals its entire life history. On the other side is a snake eating its tail, symbolising feedback control, and a Greek inscription meaning “one entity incorporates into itself all other entities of the universe.”
The BSDB is delighted to announce William Harris FRS FMedSci, Head of the Department of Physiology, Development & Neuroscience, as the 2017 winner of the Waddington Medal. Bill has been awarded for his pioneering contributions to the understanding of retinal development. Through his passion for science, his leadership and his mentoring of people at all career stages, Bill has made outstanding contributions to Developmental Biology. Working at the interface of Developmental Biology and Neuroscience, he has championed the field within Cambridge, across the UK and throughout the world. His deep interest and scientific enthusiasm have led to major insights in the field of neuronal specification and wiring. For more details of Bill’s career and work, please visit this blog post [letter #37/38], see the medal talk at the bottom of this page, or read an interview with Bill published in Development.
Past recipients (links to information about the awardees from our archives are provided)
- 2016 Enrico Coen – [letter #37/38] – [lecture] – [interview]
- 2015 Lewis Wolpert – [letter #36, p.6] – [lecture] – [interview]
- 2014 Philip Ingham – [letter #35, p.6] – [lecture] – [interview]
- 2013 Jim Smith – [letter #34]
- 2012 Alfonso Martinez Arias – [letter #33/1]
- 2011 Christopher Wylie – [letter #32/1]
- 2010 Robin Lovell-Badge – [letter #31/1]
- 2009 Liz Robertson – [letter #30/2]
- 2008 Pat Simpson – [letter 29/1]
- 2007 David Ish-Horowicz – [letter #28#1]
- 2006 Claudio Stern – [letter #27/1]
- 2005 Michael Akam – [letter #26/1]
- 2004 Jeff Williams – [letter #25/1]
- 2003 Julian Lewis – [letter #24/1]
- 2002 Jonathan Slack – [letter #45/1]
- 2001 Mike Bate – [letter #43]
- 2000 Peter Lawrence – [letter #41]
- 1999 Rosa Beddington – [letter #39]
- 1998 Cheryll Tickle – [letter #37]
Look up the Waddington Medal on Wikipedia for more information.
Nominations for the Waddington Medal
Nominees should be outstanding developmental biologists who have made a significant contribution to UK developmental biology and who are still currently active in the field. Examples of significant contribution to UK developmental biology include: activity in the community, mentoring UK developmental biologists, and contributing to a significant textbook or other aspect of teaching and/or training.
The following nomination procedure has been agreed by the Committee:
- Formal nominations should be made to the BSDB Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the closing deadline each year, but can be received at any time.
- Nominations should consist of a statement of support (maximum 1 page A4) from a Proposer and Seconder (both BSDB members), stating why the candidate is suitable for the Medal, giving a brief summary of his/her career history and listing five key publications.
- All nominations received will be considered, and voted upon, by the Committee at the end of July each year.
- The winner will be invited to present the Waddington Medal lecture at the following BSDB Spring Meeting, where the medal will be presented by the Chairman.
Waddington medal lecture movies