The Bateson Lecture

The Bateson Lecture is held in honour of the first Director of the John Innes, William Bateson, and was first delivered in 1951.

Bateson pioneered in Britain the science of genetics and coined the word “genetics” and was very much involved in the controversy that followed the rediscovery of Mendel’s papers on plant hybridisation and gathered around him a group of enthusiastic young scientists to tackle the many problems of inheritance in plants.

Previous Bateson Lecture speakers

2023 Professor Keiko Torii, The University of Washington and The University of Texas at Austin – ‘Breaking the Silence: How to make small plant mouths that support our sustenance’

2017 Professor Fred Ausubel, Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital – ‘Modelling Plant-Microbe Interactions’

2015 Professor George Church, Harvard Medical School – ‘Outer limits of genetic technologies’

2014 Professor Michael Eisen, University of California, Berkeley – ‘Embryonic adolescence: control of gene expression during early fly development’

2013 Professor Ottoline Leyser, University of Cambridge – ‘Shoot branching plasticity, how and why’

2011 Professor Philip Benfey, Duke University – ‘Development rooted in interwoven networks’

2010 Professor Joan Steitz, Yale University – ‘Viral noncoding RNAs: master regulators of RNA decay’

2009 Sir Paul Nurse, Joint Director General of Cancer Research UK – ‘Genetic transmission through the cell cycle’

2008 Professor Sean Carroll, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA – ‘Endless flies most beautiful: the role of cis-regulatory sequences in the evolution of animal form’

2003 Professor Thomas Steitz – ‘The Macromolecular machines of gene expression’

2002 Professor Elliott Meyerowitz

2001 Professor David Botstein – ‘Extracting biological information from DNA Microarray Data’

1999 Professor Eugene Nester – ‘DNA and Protein Transfer from Bacteria to Eukaryotes – the Agrobacterium story’

1996 Professor R.J.P. Williams – ‘An Introduction to Protein Machines’

1994 Professor Ira Herskowitz – ‘Violins and orchestras: what a unicellular organism can do’

1992 Professor Frank Stahl – ‘Genetic recombination: thinking about it in phage and fungi’

1990 Professor Christiane Nusslein-Volhard – ‘Axis determination in the Drosophila embryo’

1988 Professor Gottfried Schatz – ‘Interaction between mitochondria and the nucleus’

1986 Professor Arthur Kornberg – ‘Enzyme systems initiating replication at the origin of the E. coli chromosome’

1984 Professor W.W. Franke – ‘The cytoskeleton – the insoluble architectural framework of the cell’

1982 Professor Sydney Brenner, FRS – ‘Molecular genetics in prospect’

1979 Professor J. Heslop-Harrison, FRS – ‘The forgotten generation: some thoughts on the genetics and physiology of Angiosperm Gametophytes’

1976 Professor M.F. Perutz, FRS – ‘Mechanism of respiratory haemoglobin’

1974 Professor G. Pontecorvo, FRS – ‘Alternatives to sex: genetics by means of somatic cells’

1972 Professor William Hayes, FRS – ‘Molecular genetics in retrospect’

1959 Professor Kenneth Mather, FRS – ‘Genetics Pure and Applied’

1957 Professor J.B.S. Haldane, FRS- ‘The theory of evolution before and after Bateson’

1955 Professor S.C. Harland, FRS – ‘Plant breeding: present position and future perspective’

1953 Professor Julian Huxley, FRS – ‘Polymorphic variation: a problem in genetical natural history’

1951 Professor Sir Roland Fisher, FRS – ‘Statistical methods in Genetics’

Speaker portraits and prints

Speakers at the Bateson Lecture are presented with a print of a work of art by the late Leonie Woolhouse, a local artist and wife of the former Director Harold Woolhouse, which illustrates the life and career of William Bateson.

During their visit to the John Innes Centre, speakers of the named lectures are given the opportunity to have their portrait done by Professor Enrico Coen.