Noreen Murray

Noreen Murray
Noreen Murray
Born Noreen Elizabeth Murray
26 February 1935(1935-02-26)
Died 12 May 2011(2011-05-12) (aged 76)
Nationality English
Fields molecular genetics
Institutions University of Edinburgh
Stanford University
University of Cambridge
Medical Research Council (UK)
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Royal Society
Alma mater King’s College London
Birmingham University
Spouse Kenneth Murray (molecular biologist) (19??-2011; her death)

Noreen Elizabeth, Lady Murray (née Parker) CBE, FRS FRSE (26 February 1935 – 12 May 2011)[1][2] was an English molecular geneticist; until her 2001 retirement she held a personal chair in molecular genetics at the University of Edinburgh.[3]



Noreen Parker was brought up in the village of Read, Lancashire, then from the age of five in Bolton-le-Sands.[4] She was educated at Lancaster Girls' Grammar School, at King's College London (BSc), and received her Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in 1959.[5]


She worked at Stanford University, Cambridge University, and the Medical Research Council (UK) before first joining the University of Edinburgh faculty in 1967.[3] She briefly moved to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory from 1980-82, but returned to Edinburgh where she was awarded a personal chair in 1988.[3] She has been president of the Genetical Society, vice president of the Royal Society, and a member of the U.K. Science and Technology Honours Committee.[5]

She was married to Sir Kenneth Murray,[3][6] also a noted molecular biologist with whom she helped develop a vaccine against hepatitis B, the first genetically-engineered vaccine approved for human use.[5]


She died at the Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh, on 12 May 2011, aged 76.

Awards and honours

Lady Murray was elected to the Royal Society in 1982 and the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1989.[3] She has received honorary degrees from the University of Warwick, the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, the University of Birmingham, and Lancaster University.[3][5] She has also been given the Fred Griffith Review Lectureship of the Society for General Microbiology and in 1989, for her work with lambda phage, the Gabor Medal of the Royal Society.[3][7]

She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year Honours list for 2002.[8]


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