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Fellows Directory

Patricia Simpson

Credit: The Royal Society

Emeritus Professor Patricia Simpson FRS


Elected: 2000


Patricia ‘Pat’ Simpson is a biologist who studies the development and evolution of insects. Pat’s research focuses on the pattern formation of sensory bristles in fruit flies, and her work has revealed evolutionary conserved cellular receptors and mechanisms with implications for human development and disease.

Her first major discovery was the identification of the shared process that regulates the growth and pattern formation of fly bristles, with local interactions of cells determining which form bristles and which are inhibited, taking on an epidermal role instead.

She has received many awards in recognition of her work, including the Silver medal of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in 1993 and the 2008 Waddington Medal of the British Society of Developmental Biology. Pat was elected as a Member of EMBO in 1993, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012 and, last year, awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Newnham College, Cambridge, where she is currently Professor Emeritus of Comparative Embryology.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Animal evolution, Arthropoda, Gene regulation, Sense organs