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Simon Fisher

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Simon Fisher
Fisher in 2010
Simon E. Fisher

(1970-08-19) 19 August 1970 (age 53)[4]
Alma mater
AwardsCrick Lecture (2008)
Scientific career
ThesisPositional cloning of the gene responsible for dent's disease (1995)
Doctoral advisorIan W. Craig[2]
Other academic advisorsAnthony Monaco
Doctoral studentsSonja Vernes[3]

Simon E. Fisher (born 1970) is a British geneticist and neuroscientist who has pioneered research into the genetic basis of human speech and language.[1][5][6] He is a director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Professor of language and genetics at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.[4][7]


Fisher was an undergraduate student at Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he read Natural Sciences. He was a postgraduate student at St. Catherine's College, Oxford[2] where he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford in 1995 for research on positional cloning of the gene responsible for Dent's disease supervised by Ian W. Craig [Wikidata].[2]

Career and research[edit]

Following his DPhil, he was a postdoctoral researcher in Anthony Monaco's laboratory at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford.

Fisher is the co-discoverer of FOXP2, the first gene to be implicated in a human speech and language disorder.[8][9][10] His subsequent research has used FOXP2 and other language-related genes[11] as molecular windows into neural pathways critical for language.[12]

Awards and honours[edit]

Awards and prizes in recognition of his work include the Francis Crick Lecture in 2008[13] and the inaugural Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize in 2009.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b Simon Fisher publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b c Fisher, Simon E. (1995). Positional cloning of the gene responsible for Dent's disease. ox.ac.uk (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 557355457. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.307141. Open access icon
  3. ^ Vernes, Sonja (2007). Investigation of the role of FOXP transcription factors in neurodevelopment. ox.ac.uk (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 317354555. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.497468.
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Simon E. Fisher". mpg.de. Nijmegen, Netherlands: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. Archived from the original on 3 January 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  5. ^ Simon Fisher publications from Europe PubMed Central
  6. ^ Zimmer, Carl (17 October 2011). "The Language Fossils Buried in Every Cell of Your Body | Human Evolution". discovermagazine.com. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Brief Biography — Simon E. Fisher — Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics". Mpi.nl. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  8. ^ Fisher SE, Vargha-Khadem F, Watkins KE, Monaco AP, Pembrey ME (1998). "Localisation of a gene implicated in a severe speech and language disorder". Nature Genetics. 18 (2): 168–70. doi:10.1038/ng0298-168. hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-0012-CBD9-5. PMID 9462748. S2CID 3190318.
  9. ^ Lai CSL, Fisher SE, Hurst JA, Vargha-Khadem F, Monaco AP (2001). "A forkhead-domain gene is mutated in a severe speech and language disorder". Nature. 413 (6855): 519–23. Bibcode:2001Natur.413..519L. doi:10.1038/35097076. hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-0012-CB9C-F. PMID 11586359. S2CID 4421562.
  10. ^ MacDermot KD, Bonora E, Sykes N, Coupe AM, Lai CS, Vernes SC, Vargha-Khadem F, McKenzie F, Smith RL, Monaco AP, Fisher SE (2005). "Identification of FOXP2 truncation as a novel cause of developmental speech and language deficits". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 76 (6): 1074–80. doi:10.1086/430841. PMC 1196445. PMID 15877281.
  11. ^ Vernes SC, Newbury DF, Abrahams BS, Winchester L, Nicod J, Groszer M, Alarcón M, Oliver PL, Davies KE, Geschwind DH, Monaco AP, Fisher SE (2008). "A functional genetic link between distinct developmental language disorders". N. Engl. J. Med. 359 (22): 2337–45. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0802828. PMC 2756409. PMID 18987363.
  12. ^ Fisher SE, Scharff C (2009). "FOXP2 as a molecular window into speech and language". Trends Genet. 25 (4): 166–77. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2009.03.002. hdl:11858/00-001M-0000-0012-CA31-7. PMID 19304338.
  13. ^ "rewards excellence in science - News". Royal Society. 10 July 2008. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Simon Fisher wins young neuroscientist prize". ox.ac.uk. University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  15. ^ Fisher, S. E.; Ridley, M. (2013). "Culture, Genes, and the Human Revolution". Science. 340 (6135): 929–930. Bibcode:2013Sci...340..929F. doi:10.1126/science.1236171. PMID 23704558. S2CID 39849683.