Wolf Reik obtained his MD from the University of Hamburg. He did his thesis work with Rudolf Jaenisch, and postdoctoral work with Azim Surani in Cambridge. He became a Fellow of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine at Cambridge and subsequently the Head of the Epigenetics Programme at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge and its Associate Director. He is honorary Professor of Epigenetics at the University of Cambridge, Associate Faculty at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and Affiliate Faculty at the Stem Cell Institute.
His research interests are in mammalian epigenetics, particularly in epigenetic reprogramming during mammalian development and its role in stem cell biology, inheritance and ageing. He has published more than 250 research articles and with an h-index of 122. He won the Wellcome Prize in Physiology and is a member of EMBO and the Academia Europaea, and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society.