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Fellows Directory

Brian Heap

Brian Heap

Sir Brian Heap KBE CBE FRS


Elected: 1989




Brian Heap is a biological scientist whose primary research interest lies in reproductive biology and the function of hormones in reproductive processes. His comparative studies into the control of pregnancy, birth and lactation led to a number of important developments in farm animal breeding.

Brian’s early work revealed that pregnancy hormones are secreted in milk, leading to the development of simple pregnancy tests for dairy animals. He also researched the action of growth hormones, specifically focusing on insulin-like growth factor and its direct actions on the mammary gland. More recently, he demonstrated the anti-fertility properties of monoclonal antibodies acting on the reproductive hormone progesterone.

In addition to his research, Brian publishes and speaks on global food security, sustainability, international development, biotechnology and bioethics, including the technological issues and public perception of genetically modified crops. He has won awards in agricultural research and was the United Kingdom’s representative for the NATO Science Committee, the European Science Foundation, President of the European Academies Science Advisory Board (EASAC), served on the UK-China Forum, and was Editor of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B, and Vice-President and Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society.

Professional positions

Life Trustee, India National Trust for Education and Development
Former Director of Research, Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research (Babraham Cambridge and Roslin Edinburgh)
Former Director of Science, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Honorary Fellow and Former Master, St. Edmund's College (Cambridge)
President Emeritus, European Academies Science Advisory Council
Distinguished Fellow, Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge
, Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund's College (Cambridge)
Senior Adviser, Smart Villages Entrepreneurship Project, University of Cambridge
Trustee, Cambridge China Development Trust
Chief Scientific Adviser, Malaysian Commonwealth Study Centre and Cambridge Malaysian Education and Development Trust

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Agricultural and forest science
  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Climate sciences
  • Health and human sciences
    • Molecular medicine
  • Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
    • Endocrinology and reproduction (non-clinical)
  • Other
    • Science policy


Modes of reproduction, Sexual reproduction, Mammalian physiology, Endocrine physiology, Biotechnology, Sustainable agriculture, Effective population size, Climate change, Poverty reduction, Food Security


  • Rutherford Memorial Lecture

    Given in South Africa.

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