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Dame Kay Davies has been named one of Britain’s top ten ‘Explorer Scientists’ in a list of Britain’s top 100 scientists compiled by the Science Council.

Dame Kay, a Somerville alumna and honorary fellow of the College, is the Director of the University’s MRC Functional Genomics Unit. The listing, which can be found on the Science Council website, said she was noted as a “leading researcher into molecular analysis of human genetic disease, particularly the genetic basis of neuromuscular and neurological disorders.”

The Science Council produced the list in a bid to challenge what it saw as a UK culture of venerating dead scientists but not contemporary ones. Its list comprises ten separate categories of scientists, beginning with ‘Explorer Scientists’. Dame Kay, who recently wrote an article about the need for women scientists to pursue their career ambitions, was grateful for the Council’s recognition.

“I was delighted and honoured to see my name included in a list which highlights the various roles for scientists in society,” said Davies. “Inspirational teaching played a major role in my career choice and life at Somerville College, Oxford was a large part of that.  I hope this list will inspire many young people to think of science as a rewarding career path with many possible outcomes.”

The Science Council report also noted that Kay Davies co-founded the Oxford Centre of Gene Function, of which she is also the co-Director, and that she is a Fellow of both the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society.

Somerville College has an exceptional history of women in science, from its founding by Mary Somerville, the 19th century scientist science writer to Dorothy Hodgkin, still the only British woman to receive a Nobel Prize for science. Somerville College is currently planning several events to mark the 50th anniversary of Hodgkin’s Nobel Prize, which falls this year.

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