Professor Jim Smith, Group Leader and until recently Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute, has been knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours for services to medical research and science education.
Jim has been recognised for his research breakthroughs; his role in creating the Crick; and his leadership in UK science across a breadth of disciplines, including his role in nurturing the next generation of scientists and in promoting the careers of women in science.
Jim's current research interest is the molecular basis of mesoderm formation, a crucial part of early human and animal development. Over the course of his career, his work has transformed the understanding of embryonic development, giving insights into genetic defects in children and how stem cells develop into different tissues.
Jim played a formative role in the development of the Francis Crick Institute. He became Director of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), one of the Crick's parent institutes, in 2009. When the NIMR came together with the London Research Institute (LRI) on 1 April 2015 to form the Crick, he became a Crick Research Director. In parallel, he has served as Deputy CEO and Chief of Strategy at the Medical Research Council. He recently left both roles in order to take up the Director of Science post full time for Wellcome, but continues as a Group Leader at the Crick, with an active research group.