Professor Sir Martin Evans gained his BA in Biochemistry from Christ College, University of Cambridge in 1963. He received an MA in 1966 and a ScD in 1996. In 1969 he was awarded a PhD degree from University College, London. After many years working at Cambridge, Sir Martin became Professor of Mammalian Genetics at Cardiff University in 1999.
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. In recent years Sir Martin himself has carried out pioneering work in using his techniques to develop therapy for cystic fibrosis in mice and for human breast cancer, among others.
Sir Martin has published more than 150 scientific papers. Among his many awards was the 2001 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in the US – often seen as a precursor to a Nobel Prize. In 2004, he was knighted for his services to medical science. He was also named by The Independent newspaper as one of “10 Britons who changed our world.” Sir Martin is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Science.
In October 2007 Sir Martin was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine along with two US-based scientists, Professors Oliver Smithies and Mario Capecchi for “a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals.” The citation from the Nobel Assembly said of their work: “Its impact on the understanding of gene function and its benefits to mankind will continue to increase over many years to come.”
Martin has recently become an Honorary Member of the Biochemical Society and was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Medicine in January 2009.