17th May 2000

Wellcome Trust Appoints New Sanger Centre Director

The Wellcome Trust has announced the appointment of Professor Allan Bradley as the new director of the Sanger Centre, the UK's leading genome sequencing facility.

Professor Bradley, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, currently at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, USA, will take up his appointment in October 2000 when Dr John Sulston steps down from his position.

The appointment coincides with the completion of the 'working draft' of the human genome. The Sanger Centre will continue to play a major role in the finishing phase of the Human Genome Project during the coming two years. At the same time, Professor Bradley will lead the Centre in the post genomics era when scientists will use the sequence data to gain a better understanding of how genes and proteins work in the body.

It was Dr John Sulston who helped pave the way for the international collaboration that is the Human Genome Project. His pioneering work with Dr Robert Waterston from Washington University on the nematode worm, C. elegans, proved that sequencing the human genome was possible. He helped to set up the Sanger Centre in 1992 and has overseen not only progress on the human genome but also on a series of pathogens and organisms responsible for some of the world's most infectious and troublesome diseases.

Dr Sulston indicated his wish to step down as Sanger Centre director in 1999 and as a result, an international scientific search committee was convened to find his successor.

Professor Allan Bradley said of his new role: 'I am delighted to be joining the Sanger Centre at such an exciting time, with the public draft of the Human Genome sequence nearing completion, the opportunities for scientific discoveries have never been greater. I look forward to leading the Sanger Centre into the post genomics era. This era will include genome sequencing of other organisms as well as functional studies in model organisms. The infrastructure and expertise assembled by Dr. Sulston with the support of the Wellcome Trust provide unparalleled opportunities for pursuing functional genomics.'

Dr. Michael Dexter, director of the Wellcome Trust said: 'Remarkable opportunities are arising from the genome sequencing programmes to progress basic biology and its applications in medicine. We are delighted that Allan Bradley is joining us and helping to drive forward the Trust's mission.'

For further information contact:

Noorece Ahmed / Shaun Griffin
Press Office
The Wellcome Trust
Tel: 020 7611 8540 / 8612
Fax: 020 7611 8416
Email: press.office@wellcome.ac.uk

Note to editors:

  1. The Sanger Centre is one of the world's leading genome sequencing centres. Both the Sanger Centre and the Wellcome Trust have been at the forefront of efforts to keep sequence data in the public domain.
    Websites: www.sanger.ac.uk; www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/1/biovengensan.html
  2. The Wellcome Trust is the world's largest medical research charity with an annual spend of some £600 million in the current financial year 1999/2000. The Wellcome Trust supports more than 3,000 researchers at 300 locations in 30 different countries - laying the foundations for the healthcare advances of the 21st century and helping to maintain the UK's reputation as one of the world's leading scientific nations. As well as funding major initiatives in the public understanding of science, the Wellcome Trust is the country's leading supporter of research into the history of medicine.

Contact the Press Office

Don Powell Media and Public Relations Manager
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambs, CB10 1SA, UK

Tel +44 (0)1223 496 928
Mobile +44 (0)7753 775 397
Fax +44 (0)1223 494 919
Email press.office@sanger.ac.uk

* quick link - http://q.sanger.ac.uk/8cfu98wu