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Professor Robin Lovell-Badge appointed chair of the Progress Educational Trust

7 January 2019
Appeared in BioNews 981

The eminent developmental biologist Professor Robin Lovell-Badge has been appointed Chair of Trustees at the Progress Educational Trust (PET), the charity that publishes BioNews.

Professor Lovell-Badge said: 'I am honoured to have been appointed the new chair of PET, one of my favourite organisations. I am always amazed at how much PET does in an often challenging field, and I hope that I can help the charity make an even bigger impact.

'There are several important topics – ranging from the 14-day rule, to in vitro derived gametes, to human germline genome editing, as well as important issues for patients seeking help to have healthy children – that need attention from regulators, informed by good public dialogue. PET will clearly have a busy time over the next few years, and I am very much looking forward to playing my part in this.'

Professor Lovell-Badge is group leader in stem cell biology and developmental genetics at the Francis Crick Institute. In 1990, his laboratory discovered the Y-linked testis-determining gene Sry, and sex determination remains a focus of his current research (see BioNews 954).

In recent years he has been at the forefront of scientific, policy and ethical debates about issues including genome editing (see BioNews 963), mitochondrial donation (see BioNews 781), in vitro gametogenesis (see BioNews 937), synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (see BioNews 932) and the 14-day limit on human embryo research (see BioNews 880). He has also been awarded a CBE 'for services to genetics, stem cell research and the public understanding of science' (see BioNews 932).

Professor Lovell-Badge was one of the organisers of the International Summits on Human Genome Editing which took place in Washington in 2015 and in Hong Kong in 2018. At the 2018 summit, he chaired the session in which Chinese scientist Dr He Jiankui outlined and defended a controversial claim to have created the world's first genome-edited babies (see BioNews 977). Professor Lovell-Badge was also coauthor of a widely reported statement in which this work was censured by the summit organisers (see BioNews 978).

Professor Lovell-Badge takes over as PET Chair of Trustees from Fiona Fox, who has served in the role since 2014. Fox is founder and chief executive of the UK's Science Media Centre.

18 February 2019 - by Dr Sam Sherratt 
The World Health Organization is convening an 18-member committee of scientific experts from around the globe next month with the goal of developing international standards for the oversight of human genome editing...
14 January 2019 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
Chinese scientist Dr He Jiankui, who claimed to have created the world's first genome-edited babies is said to be alive and well, and under guard at home...
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