Julie Ahringer received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin with Judith Kimble and then did post-doctoral research with John White at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. She became a group leader in the Department of Genetics in Cambridge in 1996, then moved to the Gurdon Institute in 1998, where she is currently a Senior Group Leader. Julie’s research uses the nematode C. elegans as a model to address different areas of basic biology with a primary focus on the regulation of chromatin structure and function in transcription and post-transcriptional events. Her laboratory carried out the first systematic inactivation of the majority of genes in an animal through constructing and screening a genome-wide RNA interference library for C. elegans. Julie was elected to be a member of EMBO in 2003 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2007, and she received the Francis Crick lecture prize of the Royal Society in 2004.