Edith Heard, PhD, FRS is a British scientist and Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. She graduated from Cambridge University in 1986, specializing in genetics, and then carried out her PhD at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, working on gene amplification mechanisms in cancer. She moved to the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1990, as a postdoc, which is where she began her studies on the epigenetic process of X-chromosome inactivation. In 2000 she spent a year at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the USA as a visiting scientist, before moving to the Institut Curie in 2001, where she was director of the Genetics and Developmental Biology Department.
Edith’s laboratory focuses on epigenetic processes in mammals, with a particular interest in chromosome biology and the role of non-coding RNAs, chromatin structure and nuclear organization, in the establishment and maintenance of differential expression patterns during development and in disease. She became an EMBO member in 2005, was awarded the CNRS Silver medal in 2008 and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013.