Keith Campbell (biologist)

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Keith H.S. Campbell
Born (1954-05-23)23 May 1954
Died 5 October 2012(2012-10-05) (aged 58)
Institutions University of London
University of Sussex
Roslin Institute
University of Nottingham
Alma mater Queen Elizabeth College
University of London
University of Sussex
Thesis Aspects of cell cycle regulation in yeast and Xenopus (1988)
Known for Dolly (sheep)
Notable awards Shaw Prize

Keith H.S. Campbell, PhD (23 May 1954 – 5 October 2012),[1] Professor of Animal Development at the University of Nottingham, was a British biologist who was a member of the team that in 1996 first cloned a mammal, a Finnish Dorset lamb named Dolly, from fully differentiated adult mammary cells.[2][3][4][5][6]


Campbell was born in Birmingham, England, to an English mother and Scottish father. He started his education in Perth, Scotland, but, when he was eight years old, his family returned to Birmingham, where he attended King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys.[7] He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from the Queen Elizabeth College, University of London (now part of King's College London).[8] In 1983 Campbell was awarded the Marie Curie Research Scholarship, which led to graduate studies and later his doctoral degree from the University of Sussex[9] (Brighton, England, UK).[10]


Campbell's interest in cloning mammals was inspired by work done by Karl Illmensee and John Gurdon.

Working at the Roslin Institute since 1991, Campbell became involved with the cloning efforts led by Ian Wilmut. In July 1995 Keith Campbell and Bill Ritchie succeeded in producing a pair of lambs, Megan and Morag from embryonic cells, which had differentiated in culture. Then, in 1996, a team led by Ian Wilmut with Keith Campbell as the main (66% of the credit) contributor used the same technique and shocked the world by successfully cloning a sheep from adult mammary cells. Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, named after the singer Dolly Parton, was born in 1996 and lived to be six years old (dying from a viral infection and not old age, as has been suggested).

Campbell had a key role in the creation of Dolly, as he had the crucial idea of co-ordinating the stages of the "cell cycle" of the donor somatic cells and the recipient eggs and using diploid quiscent or "G0" arrested somatic cells as nuclear donors. In fact, in 2006 Ian Wilmut admitted that Keith Campbell deserved "66 per cent" of the credit for the work on Dolly the sheep.[11]

In 1997, Ritchie and Campbell in collaboration with PPL (Pharmaceutical Proteins Limited) created another sheep named "Polly", created from genetically altered skin cells containing a human gene.[12] In 2000, after joining PPL Ltd, Campbell and his PPL team (based in North America) were successful in producing the world's first piglets by Somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the so-called cloning technique. Furthermore, the PPL teams based in Roslin, Scotland and Blacksburg (USA) used the technique to produce the first gene targeted domestic animals as well as a range of animals producing human therapeutic proteins in their milk.[13][14]

From November 1999, Campbell held the post of Professor of Animal Development, Division of Animal Physiology, School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham where he continued to study embryo growth and differentiation. He supported the use of SCNT for the production of personalised stem cell therapies and for the study of human diseases and the use of cybrid embryo production to overcome the lack of human eggs available for research. Stem cells can be isolated from embryonic, fetal and adult derived material and more recently by overexpression of certain genes for the production of "induced pluripotent cells". Campbell believed all potential stem cell populations should be used for both basic and applied research which may provide basic scientific knowledge and lead to the development of cell therapies.[15][16][17][18]

In 2008, he received the Shaw Prize for Medicine and Life Sciences jointly with Ian Wilmut and Shinya Yamanaka.[19]


Keith Campbell took his own life, aged 58.[20][21] He was buried at Bretby Crematorium, Burton Upon Trent, in Derbyshire, England.[22] He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and two daughters, Claire and Lauren.


  1. ^ Sylvia Hui (11 October 2012). "Keith Campbell, UK biologist who helped create cloned sheep Dolly, dies". Startribune London. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Professor Keith Campbell". The Daily Telegraph (London). 11 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Kind, A. J.; McCreath, K. J.; Howcroft, J.; Campbell, K. H. S.; Colman, A.; Schnieke, A. E. (2000). "Production of gene-targeted sheep by nuclear transfer from cultured somatic cells". Nature 405 (6790): 1066–1069. doi:10.1038/35016604. PMID 10890449. 
  4. ^ Polejaeva, I. A.; Chen, S. H.; Vaught, T. D.; Page, R. L.; Mullins, J.; Ball, S.; Dai, Y.; Boone, J.; Walker, S.; Ayares, D. L.; Colman, A.; Campbell, K. H. S. (2000). "Cloned pigs produced by nuclear transfer from adult somatic cells". Nature 407 (6800): 86–90. doi:10.1038/35024082. PMID 10993078. 
  5. ^ Trounson, A. (2012). "Keith H. Campbell (1954–2012)". Nature 491 (7423): 193. doi:10.1038/491193a. 
  6. ^ Wilmut, I. (2012). "Keith Campbell (1954-2012)". Science 338 (6114): 1553–1553. doi:10.1126/science.1233495. PMID 23258883. 
  7. ^ Ian Wilmut (16 October 2012). "Keith Campbell obituary". The Guardian, London. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Autobiography of Keith H S Campbell". The Shaw Prize Foundation. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  9. ^ Cambpell, Keith (1988). Aspects of cell cycle regulation in yeast and Xenopus (PhD thesis). University of Sussex. 
  10. ^ "Lecture editorial for Keith Campbell, PhD, Professor of Animal Development at the University of Nottingham". 13 November 2003. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "I didn't clone Dolly the sheep, says prof". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  12. ^ Schnieke et al (1997). "Human factor IX transgenic sheep produced by transfer of nuclei from transfected fetal fibroblasts.". Science. volume 278, pp. 2130–3.
  13. ^ Campbell, K. H. S. (1999). "Nuclear Equivalence, Nuclear Transfer, and the Cell Cycle". Cloning 1 (1): 3–15. doi:10.1089/15204559950020058. PMID 16218826. 
  14. ^ Campbell, K. & Wilmut, I. (1998) "Nuclear Transfer". Animal Breeding: Technology for the 21st Century. (ed: A.J. Clark; Harwood Academic Publishers). pp. 47–62
  15. ^ Campbell, K. (1998). "Cloning Dolly: Implications for Human Medicine", Fertility and Reproductive Medicine (eds: R.D. Kempers, J. Cohen, A.F. Haney, and J.B. Younger), pp. 3–11. (excerpted from Medica: International Congress, series 1183)
  16. ^ Campbell, K. (1997). "Totipotency or multipotentiality of cultured cells: Applications and progress". Theriogenology 47: 63–72. doi:10.1016/S0093-691X(96)00340-8. 
  17. ^ Wilmut, I.; Schnieke, A. E.; McWhir, J.; Kind, A. J.; Campbell, K. H. S. (1997). "Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells". Nature 385 (6619): 810–813. doi:10.1038/385810a0. PMID 9039911. 
  18. ^ Schnieke, A. E.; Kind, A. J.; Ritchie, W. A.; Mycock, K.; Scott, A. R.; Ritchie, M.; Wilmut, I.; Colman, A.; Campbell, K. H. (1997). "Human Factor IX Transgenic Sheep Produced by Transfer of Nuclei from Transfected Fetal Fibroblasts". Science 278 (5346): 2130–2133. doi:10.1126/science.278.5346.2130. PMID 9405350. 
  19. ^ "Biography: Keith H. S. Campbell, BSc D.Phil". Faculty of Science, Nottingham University. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "Keith Campbell hanged himself by mistake". 
  21. ^ "Obituary: Professor Keith Campbell: Biologist who played a leading role in cloning Dolly the sheep". 
  22. ^ "Keith Campbell – Book of Condolence". University of Nottingham. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 

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