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Department of Zoology


We are absolutely delighted to congratulate Professor Rebecca Kilner FRS on being elected to the 1866 Professorship of Zoology.

On hearing of her election Rebecca Kilner said: "It’s a huge privilege to be elected to the Professorship of Zoology (1866). What an honour and challenge to follow in the footsteps of the nine influential scientists who held this role before me - all of whom contributed substantially to research in Zoology, not just at Cambridge but internationally."

Rebecca’s research investigates how behaviour evolves and how adaptive behaviour in turn influences subsequent evolutionary change. She is specifically interested in how parental behaviour contributes to the evolutionary process through its effects on genetic and phenotypic diversity; through the way in which parents facilitate non-genetic inheritance; and the many ways in which parents act as agents of natural selection.

Her current research focuses mainly on burying beetles, though she continues to study bird species as well.

A Professorship in Zoology and Comparative Anatomy was first established at the University in 1866. Since then, there have been nine holders of the post. On the appointment of Sir James Gray FRS in 1937 the title of the Chair was changed to a Professorship of Zoology. More recent holders of the position include Sir Gabriel Horn FRS (1978-1994), Malcolm Burrows FRS (1996 – 2010) and Michael Akam FRS (2010 - 2019).