Skip to main content

Bulfield, Grahame, 1941-: (geneticist, formerly director and chief executive, Roslin Institute, Edinburgh and vice-principal, University of Edinburgh)



  • Existence: 1941-:

Grahame Bulfield was born in Leeds in 1941, and attended school in Cheshire, where he developed an interest in agriculture and farming. In 1959 he began at the University of Leeds, reading for a BSc in Agriculture with Honours in animal production. He became interested in genetics and completed his honours project on the subject of 'Beef Sire Performance and Progeny Testing.'
After a lecturer recommended the Institute of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh, Bulfield began studying for a Diploma in Animal Genetics at the Institute in 1964, with a scholarship from the Ministry of Agriculture. After a spell at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, as a Yorkshire Agricultural Society Travelling Fellow, Bulfield began studying for a PhD in Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, with a studentship from the Agricultural Research Council. His thesis was on the biochemical genetics of two obese mutants in the mouse, and his supervisors were C.H. Waddington, D.S. Falconer, H. Kacser and G.S. Boyd.
Between 1968 and 1970, Bulfield worked in the Department of Genetics, University of California, as a Fulbright Fellow. He returned to Edinburgh in 1971 to work with Henrik Kacser on two MRC-funded projects on the screening and analysis of mouse mutants of human inherited disease.
In 1976, Bulfield was appointed Lecturer and Medical Convenor of Medical Genetics at the University of Leicester, where his research included mouse disease mutants, the genetic control of gene expression and the genetics of growth. Here Bulfield made the significant discovery of a mutation on the mouse X-chromosome which is still used as an animal model for understanding Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy in humans.
Bulfield returned to Edinburgh in 1981 as Head of the Genetics Group at the Poultry Research Centre. In 1986, part of the PRC became integrated into the newly-formed Edinburgh Research Station of the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research (IAPGR), and Bulfield was appointed Head of the Gene Expression group. In 1988 he became head of the entire Station. When the IAPGR-ERS became independent from its sister institute in Cambridge, and renamed Roslin Institute, Bulfield became director and Chief Executive. Bulfield steered Roslin through a time of scientific innovation, the growth of various spin-out biotechnology companies, government scrutiny of research establishments, as well as unprecedented public and media attention, particularly surrounding the Institute's work on cloned and transgenic animals, including Dolly the sheep (b.1996). In 1997, Bulfield and colleagues appeared before the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology to answer questions on cloning.
In 2002, Bulfield retired as Roslin's director and moved over to the University of Edinburgh to become Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh.
Grahame Bulfield has served on a wide range of government and public committees and Working Parties. He has been a non-executive director of nine companies and an advisor and consultant to both a US and UK biotechnology venture capital fund as well as a UK biotechnology company. Bulfield was appointed an Honorary Professor of the University of Edinburgh in 1990, to a Personal Chair of Animal Genetics in 2002 and elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1992. In 1999 he was appointed Honorary Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. He was awarded a CBE for services to Animal Genetics in 2001.

Found in 104 Collections and/or Records:

'After Action': copies of Director's letters to various , 2001

Identifier: EUA IN23/4/1/15
Scope and Contents Contains letters concerning applications to BBSRC for funded programmes, attendance at meetings, colleagues' promotions and Roslin Institute's commercial interests.
Dates: 2001