Professor Edith Heard FRS
Chair of Epigenetics and Cellular Memory, College de France and Director, Genetics and Developmental Biology Department Institut Curie
Heard has made several groundbreaking discoveries in epigenetics, through her studies on X-chromosome inactivation, the process of dosage compensation in mammals. Heard developed powerful single-cell techniques enabling the analysis of fixed and living embryos and embryonic stem cells. These led to one of her major discoveries, showing that X-inactivation is a highly dynamic process during early embryogenesis and revealing major differences in X-inactivation strategies in different mammals, from mouse to man. Heard has also performed pioneering work revealing that in addition to epigenetic modifications, chromosome organization and nuclear compartmentalization are important players in the initiation and maintenance of X inactivation.