Robert G. Edwards

Sir Robert Edwards is a familiar name in the field of Reproductive Medicine. The British Physiologist received the Noble Prize in Medicine or Physiology in the year 2010 for his work in development of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). He was praised for his developments in treatment of infertility.

Born in Manchester, Sir Edwards completed his undergraduate studies in agriculture from the University of Wales, Bangor. He also studied subsequently at the Institute of Animal Genetics, University of Edinburgh. He received his PhD in 1955. Sir Robert Edwards joined the University of Cambridge in 1963 where he has been a fellow at Churchill College.

Sir Robert Edwards began to study human fertilization in 1960. In 1968 he was successful in achieving fertilization of the human egg in a laboratory. He collaborated successfully with Patrick Steptoe, a gynecologist to discover new possibilities of IVF.  Steptoe used laparoscopy to recover ovocytes from infertile patients. Edwards developed culture media to allow fertilization.

Sir Edwards made a breakthrough in medical history. The birth of Louise Brown (world’s first test tube baby) lightened hope for all those infertile couples who could not have a baby. Developments in IVF technology laid foundation for further research such as embryo biopsy and stem cell research. In 2001, Sir Edwards was awarded the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award by the Lasker Foundation. He was also honored as Knight Bachelor in 2011 Birthday Honours for his contribution to human reproductive biology.

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Robert G. Edwards
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Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award by the Lasker Foundation ”for the development of in vitro fertilization, a technological advance that has revolutionized the treatment of human infertility.” (2001)
Ranked 26th in The Daily Telegraph’s list of 100 greatest living geniuses. (2007)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of in-vitro fertilization. (2010)

Steptoe, P. C.; Edwards, R. G. (1978). ”Birth after the reimplantation of a human embryo”. The Lancet 312 (8085): 366.

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