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Department of Zoology


1 October 2010 sees major changes in the academic leadership of the Department.


Professor Malcolm Burrows, Head of Department 1996 – 2010, retires, but will be remaining in the Department as an active researcher in neurobiology. Malcolm's retirement event on 13 September featured short presentations by past and present colleagues and was attended by special guest lecturer Gilles Laurent and by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard, who spoke warmly of Malcolm's leadership of the Department and unveiled a new portrait of Malcolm by Tom Wood (the painting is now hanging in the library). The event was described in the following blog written by John Naughton:

Professor Michael Akam succeeds Malcolm Burrows as Head of Department and Professor of Zoology. Michael is a celebrated developmental geneticist with a particular interest in the generation of morphological diversity. He was elected FRS in 2000 and was awarded the Linnean Society medal for Zoology in 2009. He joined the Department in 1997 from the Wellcome/CRC Institute, to take up the Directorship of the Museum of Zoology. Under his leadership the Museum has innovated in many areas and, in particular, has greatly expanded the scale, scope and popularity of its public education and outreach activities.

We also welcome to the Department Professor Paul Brakefield, who takes over as Director of the Museum. Paul joins us from his concurrent appointments in Leiden and Sheffield. He writes: "I am fascinated by the spectacular diversity of insects and especially the wing patterns of butterflies. Evolution by natural selection is at the heart of biodiversity and has, therefore, always been my focus. We know a lot about genetic variation within natural populations and we have many robust examples of how natural selection influences variation in morphology. We know much less about precisely how the genes regulate developmental pathways to yield the variation in morphology which is relevant for evolution to occur by natural selection." In addition to his work in the Museum, he will be joining Chris Jiggins in the new Evolutionary Genetics Lab (shared with Genetics) at Madingley. Paul was elected FRS in 2010.