Prof John Sulston

Founding Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute

Professor John Sulston was director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute - then called the Sanger Centre - from 1992 to 2000. His own research was chiefly on the genome of Caenorhabditis elegans, but he also contributed to the human genome project and some other projects. He continued to work in these areas until 2003. John served on the Human Genetics Commission from 2000 to 2009. He also chaired the steering group for the Wellcome Trust meetings and courses programme at Hinxton.  John died in 2018.


This person is a member of Sanger Institute Alumni.

John graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1963, took a PhD in 1966, and was then a postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In 1969 he moved to Sydney Brenner’s group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. There he worked on the biology of the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, studying particularly its cell lineage and its genome. A collaboration between this group and that of Bob Waterston (Washington University, St. Louis) produced one of the earliest genome maps, and in 1990 they began to sequence it. The group moved to the Sanger Centre in 1993.

Book of Celebration

To read a book of tweets and recollections about John Sulston and his research, please download it here.