Wellcome Sanger Institute

Cellular Generation and Cellular Screening

Scientific Operations

The Cellular Generation and Cellular Screening groups are core facilities that provides central cell biology support to the Sanger Institute, functioning as a contract research group in partnership with faculty groups to carry out multiple, distinct and often large-scale cell biology projects. Some examples of our work include finding the genes essential to cancer cell survival, and the causes of rare developmental disorders. We also contributed to the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium.

Cell Biology Research

Organoid culture: generation of new cancer organoid models and performing genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screens in cancer/patient-derived organoid lines to identify genes essential for survival (Project Gro and Score 3D)

Neural differentiation: differentiation of knockout hiPSC lines into neural stem cells (DDD-NeuGen) and cortical neurons in the presence of glial proteins, to study their effects on synapse formation (iNeurons).

CRISPR/Cas9 screening: identification of novel synthetically lethal gene targets in cancer lines (CRISPR Adams) and measuring variability in human gene essentiality in healthy individuals using hiPSCs (Parts HiPSCi).

Histology: processing tissue samples to section, stain and analyse anatomical structures under light or fluorescent microscopes, using H&E, Visium and RNAscope (Histology service). Donor tissue dissociation into single cell resolution to carry out RNA-Seq, to create a reference map of all cells in the human body (HCA project).

COG-UK: Cellular Screening played an instrumental role in the Institute’s contribution to the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, involving large-scale, nation-wide virus sample and metadata collection, preparation, sequencing, analysis and data visualisation.

CellOps Scientific Support team: supporting our research, we have a dedicated team that produces coated cultureware, reagents and specialist media to order. They also provide mycoplasma screening, sterility testing, reagent batch testing and cell banking services for Cellular Generation, Cellular Screening and other teams within Cellular Operations.


Work in the group is underpinned by a research and development function which undertakes continual improvement across the group in order to introduce new techniques and to increase capacity and quality of existing ones.

Other Initiatives

Technician Commitment

The Cellular Generation and Phenotyping laboratory at the Sanger Institute

Members of Cellular Generation and Cellular Screening teams volunteer their time to be part of the Technician Commitment (TC). The TC aims to increase the visibility and recognition of technical staff across the Institute, as well as promoting their career development and sustainability of this national initiative. The TC is led by a Steering Committee who ensure the delivery of the action plan, across six different working groups. Cellular Generation and Cellular Screening TC members are represented across the ‘Marketing and Communications Working Group, and the ‘Events Working Group’. To see the impact these working groups are having at the Institute then please look at the Technician Commitment page.


As a team we are dedicated to sharing our expertise internally within the institute, and externally. This includes through providing internal training courses through the Technician Commitment, and external iPSC culture training through the Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses.

Charity Team

Cellular Operation’s charity team are responsible for organising fundraising events to support local Cambridgeshire charities. These fundraising events are a mixture of smaller internal events and large annual events put out across the Institute. As well as fundraising events, Cellular Operation’s charity team will promote and volunteer for local charities, using the Institute’s two full-paid volunteering days initiative.

Our first event was a huge success. We raised over £1000 for Arthur Rank Hospice and CPSL Mind through our 5 million steps throughout July 2020 challenge. We hope to replicate this success in future events.


Our expertise in large-scale research means that our protocols have been rigorously tested to ensure they are robust, effective and highly replicable. We believe that there is great value in sharing such protocols amongst the scientific community, for other labs to discover and easily compare the specifics of their methodologies to other groups practicing similar work.

Click here to find all of Cellular Generation and Cellular Screening’s published protocols.

Click here to read a blog post, in which we explain our reasons for sharing our protocols with the wider scientific community.

Core team

Photo of Vanessa Baxter

Vanessa Baxter

Senior Technical Assistant

Photo of Alisha Dordi

Alisha Dordi

Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Stuart Fawke

Dr Stuart Fawke

Technical Specialist

Photo of Maria Garcia-Casado

Maria Garcia-Casado

Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Adam Hunter

Dr Adam Hunter

Senior Scientific Manager

Photo of Mr Francesco Iacoviello

Mr Francesco Iacoviello

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Hazel Rogers

Dr Hazel Rogers

Scientific Manager

Photo of Dr Katy Tudor

Dr Katy Tudor

Senior Research Assistant

Photo of Jade Williams-Gill

Jade Williams-Gill

Advanced Research Assistant

Previous team members

Photo of Dr Chukwuma A. Agu

Dr Chukwuma A. Agu

Senior Staff Scientist

Photo of Chloe Allen

Chloe Allen

Research Assistant

Photo of Francis Anderson

Francis Anderson

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Malin Andersson

Malin Andersson

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Rizwan Ansari

Rizwan Ansari

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Sam Barnett

Sam Barnett

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Daryl Cole

Dr Daryl Cole

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Andy Day

Dr Andy Day

Senior Scientific Manager

Photo of Dr Mya Fekry-Troll

Dr Mya Fekry-Troll

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Luke Foulser

Luke Foulser

Research Assistant

Photo of Eleanor Gillman

Eleanor Gillman

Research Assistant

Photo of Emma Goffin

Emma Goffin

Former Advanced Research Assistant at the Sanger Institute

Photo of Dr Céline Gomez

Dr Céline Gomez

Senior Scientific Manager

Photo of Verity Goodwin

Verity Goodwin

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Ceri Govan

Ceri Govan

Principal Technical Assistant

Photo of James Haldane

James Haldane

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Lucy Holland

Lucy Holland

Research Assistant

Photo of Laura Letchford

Laura Letchford

Senior Research Assistant

Photo of Genevieve Leyden

Genevieve Leyden

Research Assistant

Photo of Emily Mallett

Emily Mallett

Research Assistant

Photo of Ilaria Mulas

Ilaria Mulas

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Alexandra Neaverson

Alexandra Neaverson

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Rachel Nelson

Dr Rachel Nelson

Head of CGaP, Cellular Generation & Phenotyping Core Facility

Photo of Rachel Pooley

Rachel Pooley

Research Assistant

Photo of Leighton Sneade

Leighton Sneade

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Mrs Sarah Chantelle Tilman

Mrs Sarah Chantelle Tilman

Senior Technical Assistant

Photo of Anthi Tsingene

Anthi Tsingene

Research Assistant

Associated research

Related groups


We work with the following groups



HipSci brings together diverse constituents in genomics, proteomics, cell biology and clinical genetics to create a UK national iPS cell resource and use it to carry out cellular genetic studies. Between 2013 and 2016 we aim to generate iPS cells from over 500 healthy individuals and 500 individuals with genetic disease. We will then use these cells to discover how genomic variation impacts on cellular phenotype and identify new disease mechanisms.



INSIGNIA is a study focused on the investigation of patterns of mutations (signatures) in inherited and other progressive genetic diseases.Cancer is the ultimate genetic disease characterised by many thousands of mutations that accumulate within the genome of a cancer patient. The sets of mutations observed in a cancer genome are the overall outcome of a number of different mutational processes. These are caused by an underlying mechanism of DNA damage, and subsequent attempts by the cell to repair that damage. As a result, each mutational process will leave a distinctive mark or mutational signature on the cancer genome.In the same way that counting tree rings can tell us about the age and growth of that tree, the mutational signatures 'buried in the genome' can provide us with information on the biological changes that have occurred during the course of cancer (or other genetic disease) development.



OpenTargets is a unique public-private initiative to apply cutting edge genetics research to the problem of drug taregt identification and validation. They have generously funded several projects in our lab on the application of CRISPR technology to human IPS-derived model systems



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