Edith Heard

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Edith Heard
Born (1965-03-05) March 5, 1965 (age 51)
Residence Paris, France
Nationality British
Alma mater
Doctoral advisor Mike Fried
Notable awards

Edith Heard, FRS, is a researcher in epigenetics. She is a Professor at the Collège de France, holding the Chair of Epigenetics and Cellular Memory, and since 2010 has been Director of the Genetics and Developmental Biology department at the Institut Curie in Paris, France.[3] Heard is noted for her studies of X chromosome inactivation.[4][5][6][7][8]


Heard graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Natural Sciences (Genetics) from Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1986. She completed her PhD degree in cancer research in 1990 at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratory in London, UK.[9]

Academic Work[edit]

Heard's main areas of research include genetics, epigenetics and developmental biology,[2] in particular focussing on X-chromosome inactivation. X-chromosome inactivation was discovered by the British scientist Mary Lyon in 1961, and occurs when one of the two copies of the X chromosome present in female mammals is inactivated. Heard and her colleagues discovered that X chromosome inactivation happens not once, but twice, during development – first in all cells designated to building the placenta, then again in some cells sent off to build the embryo.[10][11]


In 2009 Heard received the Prix Jean Hamburger and the Grand Prix de la FRM in 2011. In 2013 she was made Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition for her discoveries in epigenetics.[1] Her nomination reads:


  1. ^ a b c "Edith Heard". The Royal Society. 
  2. ^ a b "Edith Heard". The Academy of Europe. 
  3. ^ "Group page at Institut Curie". 
  4. ^ Edith Heard's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier. (subscription required)
  5. ^ Narita, M.; Nuñez, S.; Heard, E.; Narita, M.; Lin, A. W.; Hearn, S. A.; Spector, D. L.; Hannon, G. J.; Lowe, S. W. (2003). "Rb-Mediated Heterochromatin Formation and Silencing of E2F Target Genes during Cellular Senescence". Cell. 113 (6): 703–16. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(03)00401-X. PMID 12809602. 
  6. ^ Avner, P.; Heard, E. (2001). "X-chromosome inactivation: Counting, choice and initiation". Nature Reviews Genetics. 2 (1): 59–67. doi:10.1038/35047580. PMID 11253071. 
  7. ^ Heard, E.; Clerc, P.; Avner, P. (1997). "X-Chromosome Inactivation in Mammals". Annual Review of Genetics. 31: 571–610. doi:10.1146/annurev.genet.31.1.571. 
  8. ^ Heard, E.; Rougeulle, C.; Arnaud, D.; Avner, P.; Allis, C. D.; Spector, D. L. (2001). "Methylation of Histone H3 at Lys-9 is an Early Mark on the X Chromosome during X Inactivation". Cell. 107 (6): 727–738. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(01)00598-0. 
  9. ^ "Personal Webpage at Institut Curie". 
  10. ^ "Edith Heard: 'We can't undo what our parents have given us in terms of our genes'". The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Chow, J.; Heard, E. (2009). "X inactivation and the complexities of silencing a sex chromosome". Current Opinion in Cell Biology. 21 (3): 359–366. doi:10.1016/j.ceb.2009.04.012.