Medical Genetics

Malcolm Ferguson-Smith trained in medicine in Glasgow. He was appointed Fellow in Medicine at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1959, establishing the first human chromosome diagnostic laboratory in the USA. 

In 1961, he returned to the University of  Glasgow Department of Genetics, becoming the first Burton Professor of Medical Genetics (1973-87), thereafter moving to be Professor of Pathology at Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge.

Malcolm Ferguson-Smith in University Cloisters from Douglas Wilcox Medical Genetics

He established a Regional Genetics Service for the West of Scotland, and was a pioneer of prenatal diagnosis of genetic disorders. He contributed to human gene mapping, using familial chromosome polymorphisms, deletion mapping, in situ hybridisation and chromosome sorting by flow cytometry.

His papers are held in the University Archives.

He was succeeded in the Chair by J Michael Connor (1987-2011), who researched in Down’s syndrome and the genetics of cardiovascular diseases.  Consultants during this period were Douglas Wilcox (1982-2011) and John Tolmie (unknown - 2014). Current consultants are Maria Jackson (director of the MSc in medical genetics),   Rosemarie Davidson and Stuart Imrie.

The Chair is currently held by Ed Tobias.  His current research includes study of developmental genes by exomic sequencing, whole genome sequencing, and the Scottish Genomes Partnership (read more).
Douglas Wilcox and Professor Gordon Lowe

Image provided by Douglas Wilcox


20th Century


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