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Salisbury Professor receives top American science honour 

9 February 2010

Patricia Jacobs, Professor of Human Genetics at Salisbury District Hospital, has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America – one of the highest honours that can be awarded to a scientist.

Professor Jacobs 
Professor Patricia Jacobs

Professor Jacobs will be inducted into the Academy in April with two other British scientists, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who is the inventor of the World Wide Web, and Sir Peter Mansfield, a joint Nobel Laureate who discovered the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner.

Dr John Barber , Deputy Director and Head of Cytogenetic Services at Salisbury District Hospital said:

"Professor Jacobs is already a Fellow of the Royal Society and an OBE in the UK, but this new award recognises more than 50 years of outstanding research, which is still being carried out at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust in conjunction with the University of Southampton School of Medicine."

Professor Jacobs started to make her mark in 1959, when, as a young researcher, she first discovered that maleness in humans was due to the Y chromosome – a fundamental finding that has influenced all human genetics research. Her career has taken her to many parts of the world and her research has included the contribution of chromosome abnormalities to learning difficulties, miscarriages and behaviour. Returning to England in 1988, she took up the post of Director of the Wessex Regional Genetics Laboratory at Salisbury District Hospital, where she has led a wide range of groundbreaking research projects that have given geneticists a greater understanding of a number of complex genetic conditions.

Professor Patricia Jacobs said: " It is a great honour to receive this award and become one of the relatively few foreign members to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. It is also a great pleasure to be rewarded for the research I have so much enjoyed carrying out all my working life."

More follows

Married to Professor Newton Morton, who is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the couple are one of the very few husband and wife teams to have been honoured in this way. Ends

Notes to editors:

The nature of Professor Jacob’s work:

Professor Jacobs is one of the great originals of the science of chromosomes or "cytogenetics". She has made a string of seminal discoveries throughout her working life and a much fuller account of the first 25 years is available in her Allan Award address of 1982

(see Since that time she has continued with research into fragile X syndrome, the parental origin of chromosome anomalies, structural abnormalities of the X chromosome, X-inactivation, uniparental disomy and imprinting, morbidity and mortality in patients with chromosome anomalies and the effects on patients of additional sex chromosomes.

The National Academy of Sciences (USA):

The Academy membership is composed of approximately 2,100 members and 380 foreign associates, of whom nearly 200 have won Nobel Prizes. Members and foreign associates of the Academy are elected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research; election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honours that can be accorded a scientist or engineer.

Further details of the history and work of the National Academy of Sciences can be found on the web site at

For further information please contact:

Patrick Butler

Public Relations Manager

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 01722 425170

Page Last Updated: 08/05/2014 10:07 
Printed from Salisbury NHS Foundation Website