Interview with Professor Marcus Pembrey, conducted by Professor Tilli Tansey, for the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group, 05 February 2016, in the School of History, Queen Mary University of London. Transcribed by Mrs Debra Gee, and edited by Professor Tilli Tansey and Dr Apostolos Zarros. The project management and the technical support (filming and production) were undertaken by Mr Adam Wilkinson and Mr Alan Yabsley, respectively.
Professor Marcus Pembrey MD FRCP FRCOG FRCPCH FMedSci (b. 1943) is Emeritus Professor of Paediatric Genetics at the Institute of Child Health, University College London and Visiting Professor of Paediatric Genetics at the University of Bristol. He graduated from Guy’s Hospital in 1966 with an interest in paediatrics and medical genetics, then studied benign sickle cell in eastern Saudi Arabia while training in clinical genetics with Paul Polani at Guy’s. In 1979 he was appointed Head of the new Mothercare Unit of Paediatric Genetics at the Institute of Child Health and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Genetics at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Here he helped develop clinical DNA analysis services, contributing to the Department of Health’s Special Medical Development on this. His research focused on irregular inheritance, initially fragile X syndrome and then Angelman syndrome and genomic imprinting. This led to his current interest in transgenerational responses to early life exposures. He helped Jean Golding launch the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) in Bristol, being Director of Genetics within ALSPAC from 1989 to 2005. He was Adviser in Genetics to the Chief Medical Officer UK (1989-1998) and President of the European Society of Human Genetics (1994-1995).
The History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group is funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is a registered charity (no. 210183). The current interview has been funded by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award entitled “Makers of modern biomedicine: testimonies and legacy” (2012-2017; awarded to Professor Tilli Tansey).
The interview is part of the History of the Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection).
Access to the transcript of this video interview and its related material:
History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), items e2016001-e2016008.
Example of how to cite: Tansey E M (intvr); Yabsley A (prod) (2016) Pembrey, Marcus: 01 - How and why did you become a clinical geneticist? (05-Feb-2016). History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), item e2016002. London: Queen Mary University of London.
Note: Video interviews are conducted following standard oral history methodology, and have received ethical approval (reference QMREC 0642). Video interview transcripts are edited only for clarity and factual accuracy. Related material has been deposited in the Wellcome Library.
© The Trustee of the Wellcome Trust, London, 2016
Professor Pembrey has contributed to Wellcome Witness Seminars on Clinical Genetics in Britain: Origins and development, Medical Genetics: Development of Ethical Dimensions in Clinical Practice and Research and chaired our Genetic Testing meeting.