Who is Alison Woollard? Find out more about the 2013 Christmas Lecturer.
Alison Woollard is a University Lecturer in Genetics in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Oxford working on the developmental genetics of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans.
She is also a Fellow and Tutor in Biochemistry at Hertford College, Oxford. Alison was educated at the universities of London and Oxford, achieving a first degree in Biological Sciences in 1991 and a PhD in 1995. Her current work concerns molecular mechanisms of cell fate determination during C. elegans development, trying to unpick the complex mechanisms by which cells become different from one another as an organism develops from egg to adult. She also has a developing interest in the biology of ageing.
Alison’s current research interests stem from a career-long enthusiasm for using model organisms to understand biological problems; the fact that all organisms share so many similarities at the genetic level means that work on the tiny roundworm C. elegans (and of course many other well-established model organisms such as yeast, fruitflies and zebrafish) can be applied to much more complex organisms, including humans. Work on model organisms remains at the forefront of biomedical research today and has illuminated a myriad of biological problems, from learning more about the genetics of behaviour to understanding the development of cancer.
She lives in Oxford with her husband and two children (10 and 6).
The Independent, ‘I’ve got the performing bug’
BBC Radio 4’s Start the week, What do humans share in common with the tiny nematode worm?
The Node, Developmental biology in the spotlight