Professor King is a distinguished geneticist with an internationally recognised career where she uses genetic methods to advance research in fields including forensics, history and archaeology. She graduated in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and received her MSc and PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester.
She is perhaps best known for her role as part of the team that used genetic and statistical methods to identify the remains of King Richard III after their discovery in a Leicester car park in 2012. Her research expertise is in ancient and forensic biomolecules. Prof King is also a passionate communicator of science and alongside her work as a scientist she is also a presenter, lecturer and author. She is the co-presenter of the BBC 2 TV series DNA Family Secrets, in which she uses her skills in genetics to answer questions about participants’ families and ancestry.
She will join Bath in April from the University of Leicester, where she is currently Professor of Genetics and Public Engagement. She said: "I am truly excited and honoured to be joining Bath to lead the Milner Centre for Evolution. It is a unique institution and I am delighted to be able to contribute and build on both the excellent research and the public engagement with evolutionary science which are core to the Centre’s mission.
“Alongside growing the public engagement output of the Milner Centre, I will be bringing my expertise in ancient biomolecules to add to the research portfolio there. I am excited to work with the talented researchers at the University of Bath to further our understanding of the fundamental processes that shape life on Earth."
The Milner Centre for Evolution was established in 2016 through a generous donation from University of Bath alumnus and biotech entrepreneur Dr Jonathan Milner. Housed in a custom-built facility at the University’s Claverton Down campus, it has three core objectives: to ask the big evolutionary questions, to find new technological and clinical research applications, and to take evolutionary research into the community.
Professor King is already well-known within the Centre, having delivered its 2019 Darwin Day Lecture.
Professor Philip Ingham, Head of the Department of Life Sciences said: “We are delighted to have Professor Turi King join our Department as the Director of the Milner Centre for Evolution. Her expertise, passion, and commitment to advancing the understanding of evolution align perfectly with the Centre’s values, and we are eager to see her plans for the next phase in the Centre’s journey.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Laurence Hurst for his outstanding leadership of the Centre since its establishment in 2016, and to Professor Matt Wills who has been interim Director in recent months.”
Dr Jonathan Milner added: “I am thrilled to welcome Professor Turi King as the Director of the Milner Centre for Evolution. Her passion for evolutionary biology, her outstanding contributions to the field, and her skill at communicating complex science in an engaging way make her the ideal leader for this cutting-edge research Centre. I am confident that under her direction, the Centre will continue to thrive and showcase the critical importance of thinking in evolutionary terms.”