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Professor Sir Martin Evans wins Nobel Prize for Medicine

08 October 2007

Professor Sir Martin Evans FRS, Professor of Mammalian Genetics at the School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, has won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine.

The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, announced this morning that Professor Sir Martin was one of three winners for "a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals."

Professor Sir Martin was the first scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of medical purposes. His discoveries are now being applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine - from basic research to the development of new therapies. The work has already proved of great benefit in the study of cystic fibrosis.

The Nobel Assembly said of Professor Sir Martin’s work: "Its impact on the understanding of gene function and its benefits to mankind will continue to increase over many years to come."

Professor Sir Martin shares the £755,000 prize with Professor Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah and Professor Oliver Smithies of the University of North Carolina.

The Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, Dr David Grant, said: "Cardiff University is delighted to join the world-wide congratulations for Sir Martin Evans. The Nobel Prize is tribute not just to the academic brilliance of Sir Martin’s discoveries, once thought by many to be impossible, but also to the wide-ranging benefits of his research.

"As the Nobel Assembly correctly points out, the break-throughs by Sir Martin and his fellow Nobel laureates have generated an explosion of international research activity applying their techniques. Sir Martin himself has developed models for inherited cystic fibrosis, just one of the diseases where our understanding has been revolutionised, offering hope to millions of sufferers around the world."

Professor John Harwood, Head of the School of Biosciences, said: "This is fantastic news and clearly is very well deserved. Martin's research into stem cells and gene therapy is very important and offers also sorts of promise to medicine.

"This is also marvellous news for Cardiff University and Wales. Cardiff improves year on year and this is another accolade for the University. In science it doesn't come any higher than the Nobel Prize."

Professor Sir Martin has been a key figure in establishing Cardiff University as a world-leading centre for biomedical research. The University was listed in the world’s top 100, and the top ten in the UK, for biomedicine in last year’s Times Higher Educational Supplement World University Rankings.


Notes to Editors:

The full text of the Nobel Academy statement can be seen at: .

Further information about Professor Sir Martin and his work can be found at:

Professor Sir Martin Evans is currently away from Cardiff but will be available for photographic opportunities at the School of Biosciences tomorrow. Please contact the Cardiff University public relations office to make arrangements.

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

Cardiff School of Biosciences

The Cardiff School of Biosciences addresses the major biological questions which face health and life scientists. The major research areas of the School are: biodiversity and ecology, connective tissue biology, environmental biochemistry and microbiology, mammalian genetics, molecular enzymology and entomology, and neuroscience cell biology.

Further Information:

For further information, biographical details, pictures, and interview requests, please contact:

Stephen Rouse,
Public Relations Office,
Cardiff University.
029 2087 5596

Vicky Dando,
Public Relations Office,
Cardiff University
029 2087 9074