Michael Ashburner was born 23 May 1942, the son of Geoffrey Staton Ashburner and Diane Ashburner (née Leff); In 1963 he married Francesca Ryan (daughter of Desmond Francis Ryan and Isabel Ryan) with whom he has one son and two daughters.
Ashburner was educated at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe then at Churchill College, Cambridge, obtaining his BA (1964), PhD (1968) and ScD (1978).
Ashburner has held a number of academic positions including: Assistant in Research at the University of Cambridge (1966-1968); University Demonstrator (1968-1973); University Lecturer (1973-1980); Reader in Developmental Genetics (1980-1991); Gordon Ross Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology (1968-69); Visiting Professor at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco (1977-1978); University of Crete (1985); University of Pavia, Italy (1990-); and Miller Visiting Professor, University of California at Berkeley (1986). From 1991 onwards he has been Professor of Biology at the University of Cambridge and since 1980 a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge.
Ashburner has written and edited a number of publications including: "The Genetics and Biology of Drosophila" (ed., 1976-86, 12 vols); "Insect Cytogenetics" (ed.,1980); "Heat Shock: from bacteria to man" (1982); "Drosophila: a laboratory handbook and manual" (2 vols, 1989).
The papers relate to the activities of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Committee of 100 and other non-violent disarmament and anti-nuclear pressure groups with whom Ashburner was involved in the 1960's.
The collection was deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by Dr Ashburner in 1988.
The collection is owned by Churchill College.