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Fellows Directory

Ian Wilmut

Sir Ian Wilmut OBE FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2002


Ian Wilmut is an embryologist who famously led the team that successfully cloned ‘Dolly the sheep’ in the mid-1990s. To achieve this technical feat, the team established a technique for transferring nuclei from adult sheep cells to unfertilised sheep eggs that had had their own nuclei removed. This was done in such a way that the first cloned adults were born.

He now conducts research on adult cells, using techniques that avoid the need to obtain embryonic cells. Ian’s current work aims to convert skin cells into stem cells that have the ability to form all tissues. By deriving these cell from donors who have inherited degenerative diseases, it is possible to gain new understanding of how diseases arise and search for medicines that are able to prevent the degeneration.

In the long run, stem cells will be used in new treatments. Ian is a strong advocate of a proposal to develop a global network of cell banks that would make it possible for anyone in the world to have access to such cell therapy.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Chromatin, Chromatin modification, Embryo development, Embryo transfer, Embryonic stem cells, Epigenetics, Stem cell therapy, Zygotes


  • Shaw Prize

    For works on the cell differentiation in mammals, a process that advances our knowledge of developmental biology.