Professor Austin Burt is a Professor of Evolutionary Genetics at Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College ( Silwood Park Campus) and a Principal Investigator for Target Malaria. Professor Burt is an evolutionary biologist and a thought leader on the use of gene drive technology for malaria control.
Austin studied at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, for his BSc and Ph.D., in which he focused on the natural history of homing endonucleases (HEGs) in yeasts. As a Post-Doctoral Researcher, he worked at the University of California, Santa Cruz with William Rice and Robert Trivers, before moving to UC Berkeley to work with John Taylor in the study of “selfish genes,” – (HEGS) – short lengths of DNA that can get inserted into an organism’s genome and then spread through a population over succeeding generations. He has led the field in considering how “selfish genes” could be used to modify populations of malaria mosquitoes to help end the transmission of the disease.
Prof. Burt’s awards and honors include:
- The President’s Medal for Excellence in Societal Engagement (Imperial College London,2017),
- The Cozzarelli Prize for PNAS paper of great “scientific excellence and originality”,
- The 2016 Wolfson Research Merit Award,
- The 2000 Institute of Zoology Science Medal.
He has been interviewed by several national and international media outlets and featured on platforms like Wired UK and Adelphi Genetics Forum. He is a member of the Academia Europaea.
Recent media coverage:
- Vox, ‘Target Malaria’s scientists are working to rid Africa of an ancient plague‘
- Wired UK, ‘Austin Burt: How genetically-modified mosquitoes could eradicate Malaria‘
- European Scientist, ‘Interview with Professor Austin Burt: Role of gene drive technology in the context of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy 2030‘